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Opt Express. 2008 May 12;16(10):7499-507.

Feasibility study of nanoscaled optical waveguide based on near-resonant surface plasmon polariton.

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Department of Microelectronics and Applied Physics, Royal Institute of Technology, and Kista Photonics Research Center, Electrum 229, 16440 Kista, Sweden.


Currently subwavelength surface plasmon polariton (SPP) waveguides under intensive theoretical and experimental studies are mostly based on the geometrical singularity property of such waveguides. Typical examples include the metal-insulator-metal based waveguide and the metallic fiber. Both types of waveguides support a mode with divergent propagation constant as the waveguides' geometry (metal gap distance or fiber radius) shrinks to zero. Here we study an alternative way of achieving subwavelength confinement through deploying two materials with close but opposite epsilon values. The interface between such two materials supports a near-resonant SPP. By examining the relationship between mode propagation loss and the mode field size for both planar and fiber waveguides, we show that waveguides based on near-resonant SPP can be as attractive as those solely based on geometrical tailoring. We then explicitly study a silver and silicon based waveguide with a 25nm core size at 600nm wavelength, in its properties like single-mode condition, mode loss and group velocity. It is shown that loss values of both materials have to be decreased by approximately 1000 times in order to have 1dB/microm propagation loss. Hence we point out the necessity of novel engineering of low-loss metamaterials, or introducing gain, for practical applications of such waveguides. Due to the relatively simple geometry, the proposed near-resonant SPP waveguides can be a potential candidate for building optical circuits with a density close to the electronic counterpart.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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