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  • Editor: Alex Gaeta
  • Vol. 1, Iss. 2 — Aug. 20, 2014
  • pp: 96–100

Transparent subdiffraction optics: nanoscale light confinement without metal

Saman Jahani and Zubin Jacob  »View Author Affiliations

Optica, Vol. 1, Issue 2, pp. 96-100 (2014)

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The integration of nanoscale electronics with conventional optical devices is restricted by the diffraction limit of light. Metals can confine light at the subwavelength scales needed, but they are lossy, while dielectric materials do not confine evanescent waves outside a waveguide or resonator, leading to cross talk between components. We show that light can be confined below the diffraction limit using completely transparent artificial media (metamaterials with ε>1,μ=1). Our approach relies on controlling the optical momentum of evanescent waves—an important electromagnetic property overlooked in photonic devices. For practical applications, we propose a class of waveguides using this approach that outperforms the cross-talk performance by 1 order of magnitude as compared to any existing photonic structure. Our work overcomes a critical stumbling block for nanophotonics by completely averting the use of metals and can impact electromagnetic devices from the visible to microwave frequency ranges.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(160.3918) Materials : Metamaterials
(250.5403) Optoelectronics : Plasmonics

Original Manuscript: April 9, 2014
Revised Manuscript: June 17, 2014
Manuscript Accepted: June 23, 2014
Published: August 12, 2014

Saman Jahani and Zubin Jacob, "Transparent subdiffraction optics: nanoscale light confinement without metal," Optica 1, 96-100 (2014)

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