Of Light, Electrons, and Metamaterials

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
7:00 PM
Free and open to the public

In my group we have been developing the concept of “optical metatronics”, i.e. metamaterial-inspired optical nanocircuitry, in which the three fields of “electronics”, “photonics” and “magnetics” can be merged together. In such a paradigm, the concept of metamaterials and plasmonics optics can be exploited to bridge the gaps among these fields, to modularize, standardize, and parameterize some of the optical and electronic phenomena, and to transplant concepts from one field into another. In this unified platform of optical metatronics, the nanostructures with specific values of permittivity and permeability may act as the optical lumped circuit elements at the nanoscale, analogous to the circuit elements in RF electronics. Nonlinearity in metatronics can also provide us with novel optical nonlinear lumped elements. Optical nanoantennas can link the “macroworld” with such “nanoworld” in optical metatronics. We have investigated the concept of metatronics through extensive analytical and numerical studies, computer simulations, and recently in a set of experiments at the IR wavelengths. We have also been exploring how metamaterials can also be exploited to control the flow of photons, analogous to what semiconductors do for electrons, providing the possibility of one-way flow of photons, photon diodes, and photon capacitors. We are now extending the concept of metatronics to other platforms such as graphene as a new paradigm for metatronic circuitry and also as one-atom-thick metamaterials and one-atom-thick transformation optical devices. I will present an overview of some of our most recent results in these topics and discuss future directions and potentials.

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Nader Engheta

H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering
University of Pennsylvania