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Proceedings Paper

Gain in negative-index metamaterials and slow-light waveguides
Author(s): S. Wuestner; E. I. Kirby; A. Pusch; K. L. Tsakmakidis; J. M. Hamm; O. Hess
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Paper Abstract

We investigate on the basis of a full three-dimensional spatio-temporal Maxwell-Bloch approach the possibility of complete loss compensation in non-bianisotropic negative refractive index (NRI) metamaterials. We show that a judicious incorporation of optically pumped gain materials, such as laser dyes, into a double-fishnet metamaterial can enable gain in the regime where the real part n of the resulting effective refractive index (n = n + in) is negative. It is demonstrated that a frequency band exists for realistic opto-geometric and material (gain/loss) parameters where n < 0 and simultaneously n < 0 hold, resulting in a figure-of-merit that diverges at two distinct frequency points. Having ensured on the microscopic, meta-molecular level that realistic levels of losses and even gain are accessible in the considered optical frequency regime we explore the possibility of compensating propagation losses in a negative refractive index slow-light metamaterial heterostructure. The heterostructure is composed of a negative refractive index core-layer bounded symmetrically by two thin active cladding layers providing evanescent gain to the propagating slow light pulses. It is shown that backward-propagating light - having anti-parallel phase and group velocities and experiencing a negative effective refractive index - can be amplified inside this slow-light waveguide structure. Our results provide a direct and unambiguous proof that full compensation of losses and attainment of gain are possible on the microscopic as well as the macroscopic level in the regime where the non-bianisotropic refractive index is negative - including, in particular, the regime where the guided light propagates slowly.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 September 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7754, Metamaterials: Fundamentals and Applications III, 775414 (10 September 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.871948
Show Author Affiliations
S. Wuestner, Univ. of Surrey (United Kingdom)
E. I. Kirby, Univ. of Surrey (United Kingdom)
A. Pusch, Univ. of Surrey (United Kingdom)
K. L. Tsakmakidis, Univ. of Surrey (United Kingdom)
J. M. Hamm, Univ. of Surrey (United Kingdom)
O. Hess, Univ. of Surrey (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7754:
Metamaterials: Fundamentals and Applications III
Allan D. Boardman; Nader Engheta; Mikhail A. Noginov; Nikolay I. Zheludev, Editor(s)

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