Novel light trapping and nonlinear dynamics in nanophotonic devices
Numerous fundamental quests and technological advances require trapping light waves. Generally, light is trapped by the absence of radiation channels or by forbid- ding access to them. Unconventional bound states of light, called bound states in the continuum (BICs), have recently gained tremendous interest due to their peculiar and extreme capabilities of trapping light in open structures with access to radiation. A BIC is a localized state of an open structure with access to radiation channels, yet it remains highly confined with, in theory, infinite lifetime and quality factor. There have been many realizations of such exceptional states in dielectric systems without loss. However, realizing BICs in lossy systems such as those in plasmonics remains a challenge. This thesis explores the realization of BICs in a hybrid plasmonic-photonic structure consisting of a plasmonic grating coupled to a dielectric optical waveguide with diverging radiative quality factors. The plasmonic-photonic system supports two distinct groups of BICs: symmetry protected BICs and Friedrich-Wintgen BICs. The photonic waveguide modes are strongly coupled to the gap plasmons in the grating leading to an avoided crossing behavior with a high value of Rabi splitting of 150 meV . Additionally, it is shown that the strong coupling significantly alters the band diagram of the hybrid system, revealing opportunities for supporting stopped light at an off-Γ wide angular span.
In another study, we demonstrate the design of a BIC-based all-dielectric metasurface and its application as a nanolaser. Metasurfaces have received an ever-growing interest due to their unprecedented ability to control light using subwavelength structures arranged in an ultrathin planar profile. However, the spectral response of meta- surfaces is generally broad, limiting their use in applications requiring high quality (Q) factors. In this study, we design, fabricate, and optically characterize metasur- faces with very high Q-factors operating near the BIC regime. The metasurfaces are coated with an organic lasing dye as an active medium, and their lasing action is experimentally characterized. The proposed BIC-based metasurfaces nanolaser have very favorable characteristics including low threshold, easily tunable resonances, polarization-independent response, and room temperature operation.
The second part of the thesis deals with the nonlinear phenomenon in nanopho- tonic structures. We developed an advanced full-wave framework to model nonlinear light-matter interactions. Rate equations, describing atomic relaxations and excita- tion dynamics, are coupled to the Maxwell equations using a Lorentzian oscillator that models the kinetics-dependent light-matter interaction in the form of averaged polarization. The coupled equations are discretized in space and time using a finite- difference time-domain method that provides a versatile multiphysics framework for designing complex structures and integrating diverse material models. The proposed framework is used to study gain dynamics in silver nanohole array, reverse saturable absorption dynamic in optical limiters, and saturable absorption in random lasers. This framework provides critical insights into the design of photonic devices and their complementary optical characterization, and serve as an invaluable utility for guiding the development of synthetic materials. It allows accurate physics-based numerical modeling and optimization of the devices with complex micro- and nano-structured materials and complex illumination sources such as non-paraxial structured beams.