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Nano Lett. 2010 May 12;10(5):1741-6. doi: 10.1021/nl1001636.

Photoconductively loaded plasmonic nanoantenna as building block for ultracompact optical switches.

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  • 1Centro de Fisica de Materiales CSIC-UPV/EHU and Donostia International Physics Center, DIPC, Paseo Manuel Lardizabal 4, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain.


We propose and explore theoretically a new concept of ultrafast optical switches based on nonlinear plasmonic nanoantennas. The antenna nanoswitch operates on the transition from the capacitive to conductive coupling regimes between two closely spaced metal nanorods. By filling the antenna gap with amorphous silicon, progressive antenna-gap loading is achieved due to variations in the free-carrier density in the semiconductor. Strong modification of the antenna response is observed both in the far-field response and in the local near-field intensity. The large modulation depth, low switching threshold, and potentially ultrafast time response of antenna switches holds promise for applications ranging from integrated nanophotonic circuits to quantum information devices.

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