Design of Fano Resonators for Novel Metamaterial Applications

  • Muhammad Amin

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The term “metamaterials” refers to engineered structures that interact with electromagnetic fields in an unusual but controllable way that cannot be observed with natural materials. Metamaterial design at optical frequencies oftentimes makes of controllable plasmonic interactions. Light can excite collective oscillations of conduction band electrons on a metallic nanostructure. These oscillations result in localized surface plasmon modes which can provide high confinement of fields at metal-dielectric interfaces at nanoscale. Additionally scattering and absorption characteristics of plasmon modes can be controlled by geometrical features of the metallic nanostructures. This ease of controllability has lead to the development of new concepts in light manipulation and enhancement of light-material interactions. Fano resonance and plasmonic induced transparency (PIT) are among the most promising of those. The interference between different plasmon modes induced on nanostructures generates PIT/Fano resonance at optical frequencies. The unusual dispersion characteristics observed within the PIT window can be used for designing optical metamaterials to be used in various applications including bio-chemical sensing, slow light, modulation, perfect absorption, and all-optical switching. This thesis focuses on design of novel plasmonic devices to be used in these applications. The fundamental idea behind these designs is the generation of higher-order plasmon modes, which leads to PIT/Fano resonance-like output characteristics. These are then exploited together with dynamic tunability supported by graphene and field enhancement provided by nonlinear materials to prototype novel plasmonic devices. More specifically, this thesis proposes the following plasmonic device designs. I.Nano-disk Fano resonator: Open disk-like plasmonic nanostructures are preferred for bio-chemical sensing because of their higher capacity to be in contact with greater volumes of analyte. High effective refractive index required by sensing applications is achieved though the dispersion characteristics within PIT window. Higher order modes required for Fano resonance are generated through geometrical symmetry breaking by embedding a shifted and elongated cavity into a circular disk. The resulting dual band PIT can be geometrically tuned by varying the cavity's width and rotation angle. II.Tunable Terahertz Fano resonator: The possibility to dynamically tune graphene's conductivity has made it an attractive choice over conventional noble metals to generate surface plasmon modes at Terahertz frequencies. Subsequently, a polarization-independent and dynamically tunable hybrid gold-graphene structure is designed to achieve PIT/Fano resonance by allowing graphene and metallic plasmon modes to interfere. The effective group index of the resulting resonator is found to be very high (ng=1400, several times higher than all previously reported PIT devices) within the PIT window. Dynamic tunability achieved through a gate voltage applied to graphene suggests applications in switching. III.Tunable Terahertz Fano absorber: Many photonic and optical devices rely on their ability to efficiently absorb an incoming electromagnetic field. The absorption in atomically thin graphene sheet is already very high i.e., “2.3%” per layer. However, considering its atomic thickness graphene sheet remains practically transparent to Terahertz waves. The proposed absorber design makes of an asymmetrically patterned graphene layer that supports higher order plasmon modes at Terahertz frequencies. Several of these patterned layers backed by dielectric substrates are stacked on top of each other followed by reflector screen. The dynamically controllable resonances from each graphene layer and the spacing between them are fine tuned to achieve a large bandwidth of 6.9 Terahertz (from 4.7 to 11.6 Terahertz) for over 90% absorption, which is significantly higher than that of existing metallic/graphene absorbers. IV.Three state all-optical switch: The plasmonic resonances are extremely sensitive to dielectric properties of the surrounding medium. A slight change in the dielectric constant near the metal surface results in a significant change in the plasmonic resonance. This sensitivity is enhanced in the presence of a nonlinear change in the dielectric constant. To make use of this effect, Fano resonator is used in conjunction with a Kerr nonlinear material. The resulting resonator exploits multiple (higher order) surface plasmons to generate a multi-band tri-stable response in its output. This cannot be obtained using existing nonlinear plasmonic devices that make use of single mode Lorentzian resonances. Multi-band three-state optical switching that can be realized using the proposed resonator has potential applications in optical communications and computing.
Date of AwardMay 2014
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorHakan Bagci (Supervisor)


  • Fano Resonance
  • Plasmonics
  • Metamaterials
  • Electromagnetics

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