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      Merging transformation optics with electron-driven photon sources

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          Abstract

          Relativistic electron beams create optical radiation when interacting with tailored nanostructures. This phenomenon has been so far used to design grating-based and holographic electron-driven photon sources. It has been proposed recently that such sources can be used for hybrid electron- and light-based spectroscopy techniques. However, this demands the design of a thin-film source suitable for electron-microscopy applications. Here, we present a mesoscopic structure composed of an array of nanoscale holes in a gold film which is designed using transformation optics and delivers ultrashort chirped electromagnetic wave packets upon 30–200 keV electron irradiation. The femtosecond photon bunches result from coherent scattering of surface plasmon polaritons with hyperbolic dispersion. They decay by radiation in a broad spectral band which is focused into a 1.5 micrometer beam waist. The focusing ability and broadband nature of this photon source will initiate applications in ultrafast spectral interferometry techniques.

          Abstract

          There is growing interest in designing platforms for coherent electron-driven photon sources for hybrid light and electron spectroscopy. Here the authors demonstrate generation of coherent broadband ultrashort light pulses upon electron irradiation to nanostructured gold plated film.

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          Most cited references 47

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          First lasing and operation of an ångstrom-wavelength free-electron laser

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            Transformation optics using graphene.

            Metamaterials and transformation optics play substantial roles in various branches of optical science and engineering by providing schemes to tailor electromagnetic fields into desired spatial patterns. We report a theoretical study showing that by designing and manipulating spatially inhomogeneous, nonuniform conductivity patterns across a flake of graphene, one can have this material as a one-atom-thick platform for infrared metamaterials and transformation optical devices. Varying the graphene chemical potential by using static electric field yields a way to tune the graphene conductivity in the terahertz and infrared frequencies. Such degree of freedom provides the prospect of having different "patches" with different conductivities on a single flake of graphene. Numerous photonic functions and metamaterial concepts can be expected to follow from such a platform.
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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

                Contributors
                n.talebi@fkf.mpg.de
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                5 February 2019
                5 February 2019
                2019
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 1015 6736, GRID grid.419552.e, Stuttgart Center for Electron Microscopy, Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, ; Heisenbergstr. 1, Stuttgart, 70569 Germany
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0646 2441, GRID grid.417889.b, Center for Nanophotonics, AMOLF, ; Science Park 104, Amsterdam, 1098 XG The Netherlands
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9713, GRID grid.5719.a, 4th Physics Institute and Research Center SCoPE, , University of Stuttgart, ; Pfaffenwaldring 57, Stuttgart, 70569 Germany
                Article
                8488
                10.1038/s41467-019-08488-4
                6363763
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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