Date of Award

10-20-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Mark I. Stockman - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

A.G. Unil Perera - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Nikolaus Dietz - Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

Paul J. Wiita - Committee Member

Fifth Advisor

Steven T. Manson - Committee Member

Sixth Advisor

Vadym M. Apalkov - Committee Member

Abstract

We introduce an approach to implement full coherent control on nanometer length scales. It is based on spatiotemporal modulation of the surface plasmon polariton (SPP) fields at the thick edge of a nanowedge. The SPP wavepackets propagating toward the sharp edge of this nanowedge are compressed and adiabatically concentrated at a nanofocus, forming an ultrashort pulse of local fields. The profile of the focused waveform as a function of time and one spatial dimension is completely coherently controlled. We establish the principal limits for the nanoconcentration of the terahertz (THz) radiation in metal/dielectric waveguides and determine their optimum shapes required for this nanoconcentration. We predict that the adiabatic compression of THz radiation from the initial spot size of vacuum wavelength ~300 μm to the unprecedented final size of 100-250 nm can be achieved, while the THz radiation intensity is increased by a factor of 10 to 250. This THz energy nanoconcentration will not only improve the spatial resolution and increase the signal/noise ratio for THz imaging and spectroscopy, but in combination with the recently developed sources of powerful THz pulses, will allow the observation of nonlinear THz effects and a variety of nonlinear spectroscopies (such as two-dimensional spectroscopy), which are highly informative. This should find a wide spectrum of applications in science, engineering, biomedical research and environmental monitoring. We also develop a theory of the spoof plasmons propagating at the interface between a dielectric and a real conductor. The deviation from a perfect conductor is introduced through a finite skin depth. The possibilities of guiding and focusing of spoof plasmons are considered. Geometrical parameters of the structure are found which provide a good guiding of such modes. Moreover, the limit on the concentration by means of planar spoof plasmons in case of non-ideal metal is established. These properties of spoof plasmons are of great interest for THz technology.

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