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      Low loss Plasmon-assisted electro-optic modulator

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          Abstract

          For nearly two decades, the field of plasmonics 1 - which studies the coupling of electromagnetic waves to the motion of free electrons in a metal 2 - has sought to realize subwavelength optical devices for information technology 36, sensing 7, 8, nonlinear optics 9, 10, optical nanotweezers 11 and biomedical applications 12. Although the heat generated by ohmic losses is desired for some applications (e.g. photo-thermal therapy), plasmonic devices for sensing and information technology have largely suffered from these losses inherent to metals 13. This has led to a widespread stereotype that plasmonics is simply too lossy to be practical. Here, we demonstrate that these losses can be bypassed by employing “resonant switching”. In the proposed approach, light is only coupled to the lossy surface plasmon polaritons in the device’s off-state (in resonance) where attenuation is desired to ensure large extinction ratios and facilitate sub-ps switching. In the on state (out of resonance), light is prevented from coupling to the lossy plasmonic section by destructive interference. To validate the approach, we fabricated a plasmonic electro-optic ring modulator. The experiments confirm that low on-chip optical losses (2.5 dB), high-speed operation (>>100 GHz), good energy efficiency (12 fJ/bit), low thermal drift (4‰ K -1), and a compact footprint (sub- λ radius of 1 μm) can be realized within a single device. Our result illustrates the potential of plasmonics to render fast and compact on-chip sensing and communications technologies.

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          Most cited references 49

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          Nanoshell-mediated near-infrared thermal therapy of tumors under magnetic resonance guidance.

          Metal nanoshells are a class of nanoparticles with tunable optical resonances. In this article, an application of this technology to thermal ablative therapy for cancer is described. By tuning the nanoshells to strongly absorb light in the near infrared, where optical transmission through tissue is optimal, a distribution of nanoshells at depth in tissue can be used to deliver a therapeutic dose of heat by using moderately low exposures of extracorporeally applied near-infrared (NIR) light. Human breast carcinoma cells incubated with nanoshells in vitro were found to have undergone photothermally induced morbidity on exposure to NIR light (820 nm, 35 W/cm2), as determined by using a fluorescent viability stain. Cells without nanoshells displayed no loss in viability after the same periods and conditions of NIR illumination. Likewise, in vivo studies under magnetic resonance guidance revealed that exposure to low doses of NIR light (820 nm, 4 W/cm2) in solid tumors treated with metal nanoshells reached average maximum temperatures capable of inducing irreversible tissue damage (DeltaT = 37.4 +/- 6.6 degrees C) within 4-6 min. Controls treated without nanoshells demonstrated significantly lower average temperatures on exposure to NIR light (DeltaT < 10 degrees C). These findings demonstrated good correlation with histological findings. Tissues heated above the thermal damage threshold displayed coagulation, cell shrinkage, and loss of nuclear staining, which are indicators of irreversible thermal damage. Control tissues appeared undamaged.
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            Micrometre-scale silicon electro-optic modulator.

            Metal interconnections are expected to become the limiting factor for the performance of electronic systems as transistors continue to shrink in size. Replacing them by optical interconnections, at different levels ranging from rack-to-rack down to chip-to-chip and intra-chip interconnections, could provide the low power dissipation, low latencies and high bandwidths that are needed. The implementation of optical interconnections relies on the development of micro-optical devices that are integrated with the microelectronics on chips. Recent demonstrations of silicon low-loss waveguides, light emitters, amplifiers and lasers approach this goal, but a small silicon electro-optic modulator with a size small enough for chip-scale integration has not yet been demonstrated. Here we experimentally demonstrate a high-speed electro-optical modulator in compact silicon structures. The modulator is based on a resonant light-confining structure that enhances the sensitivity of light to small changes in refractive index of the silicon and also enables high-speed operation. The modulator is 12 micrometres in diameter, three orders of magnitude smaller than previously demonstrated. Electro-optic modulators are one of the most critical components in optoelectronic integration, and decreasing their size may enable novel chip architectures.
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              Channel plasmon subwavelength waveguide components including interferometers and ring resonators.

              Photonic components are superior to electronic ones in terms of operational bandwidth, but the diffraction limit of light poses a significant challenge to the miniaturization and high-density integration of optical circuits. The main approach to circumvent this problem is to exploit the hybrid nature of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs), which are light waves coupled to free electron oscillations in a metal that can be laterally confined below the diffraction limit using subwavelength metal structures. However, the simultaneous realization of strong confinement and a propagation loss sufficiently low for practical applications has long been out of reach. Channel SPP modes--channel plasmon polaritons (CPPs)--are electromagnetic waves that are bound to and propagate along the bottom of V-shaped grooves milled in a metal film. They are expected to exhibit useful subwavelength confinement, relatively low propagation loss, single-mode operation and efficient transmission around sharp bends. Our previous experiments showed that CPPs do exist and that they propagate over tens of micrometres along straight subwavelength grooves. Here we report the design, fabrication and characterization of CPP-based subwavelength waveguide components operating at telecom wavelengths: Y-splitters, Mach-Zehnder interferometers and waveguide-ring resonators. We demonstrate that CPP guides can indeed be used for large-angle bending and splitting of radiation, thereby enabling the realization of ultracompact plasmonic components and paving the way for a new class of integrated optical circuits.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                0410462
                6011
                Nature
                Nature
                Nature
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                2 February 2018
                25 April 2018
                April 2018
                25 October 2018
                : 556
                : 7702
                : 483-486
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ETH Zurich, Institute of Electromagnetic Fields (IEF), 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
                [2 ]University of Washington, Department of Chemistry, Seattle, WA 98195-1700, USA
                [3 ]Purdue University, School of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Brick Nanotechnology Center, West Lafayette, WIN 47909, USA
                [4 ]Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Richmond, VA 23284, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to haffnerc@ 123456ethz.ch or leuthold@ 123456ethz.ch .
                Article
                EMS76045
                10.1038/s41586-018-0031-4
                5935232
                29695845

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