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Enhanced nonlinearities using plasmonic nanoantennas

Pai-Yen Chen
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
/ Christos Argyropoulos
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
/ Andrea Alù
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
  • Email:
Published Online: 2012-12-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nanoph-2012-0016


In this paper, we review and discuss how nanoantennas may be used to largely enhance the nonlinear response of optical materials. For single nanoantennas, there have been tremendous advancements in understanding how to exploit the local field enhancement to boost the nonlinear susceptibility at the surface or sharp edges of plasmonic metals. After an overview of the work in this area, we discuss the possibility of controlling the optical nonlinear response using nanocircuit concepts and of significantly enhancing various nonlinear optical processes using planar arrays of plasmonic nanoantennas loaded with χ(2) or χ(3) nonlinear optical materials, forming ultrathin, nanometer-scale nonlinear metasurfaces, as optical nanodevices. We describe how this concept may be used to boost the efficiency of nonlinear wave mixing and optical bistability, due to the large local field enhancement at the nonlinear nanoloads associated with the plasmonic features of suitably tailored nanoantenna designs. We finally discuss three exciting applications of the proposed nonlinear metasurface: dramatically-enhanced frequency conversion efficiency, efficient phase-conjugation for super-resolution imaging and large optical bistabilities.

Keywords: plasmonics; nanoantennas; metamaterials; non-linear optics

About the article

Corresponding author Edited by Niek van Hulst, ICFO, Castadeffels, Spain

Received: 2012-04-09

Accepted: 2012-10-29

Published Online: 2012-12-06

Published in Print: 2012-12-01

Citation Information: Nanophotonics, ISSN (Online) 2192-8614, ISSN (Print) 2192-8606, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nanoph-2012-0016. Export Citation

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