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Nat Commun. 2015 Oct 30;6:8766. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9766.

Optical meta-atom for localization of light with quantized energy.

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Department of Electrical Engineering-Instituto de Telecomunicações, University of Coimbra, Coimbra 3030-290, Portugal.


The capacity to confine light into a small region of space is of paramount importance in many areas of modern science. Here we suggest a mechanism to store a quantized 'bit' of light--with a very precise amount of energy--in an open core-shell plasmonic structure ('meta-atom') with a nonlinear optical response. Notwithstanding the trapped light state is embedded in the radiation continuum, its lifetime is not limited by the radiation loss. Interestingly, it is shown that the interplay between the nonlinear response and volume plasmons enables breaking fundamental reciprocity restrictions, and coupling very efficiently an external light source to the meta-atom. The collision of an incident optical pulse with the meta-atom may be used to release the trapped light 'bit'.

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