Metamaterials for Taming the Light: Metactronics at the Nanoscale

Nader Engheta
University of Pennsylvania

The field of metamaterials is witnessing unprecedented development in recent years due to numerous potential applications that such materials may offer. There has also been significant interest and development in the field of plasmonic Optics in recent years due to the numerous breakthroughs in the areas of nanotechnology and nanooptics and exciting potentials for merging of nanooptics and nanoelectronics. Owing to some of the fascinating features that are common in these two fields, they are merging into a new topic that may be called “metaplasmonics”. Numerous fundamental concepts and various potential applications of metamaterials and plasmonic materials, for which these unconventional parameter values can play important roles, are being explored. These include, but not limited to, ‘metactronics’ or ‘circuits with light at the nanoscale’, in which the arrangement of plasmonic and nonplasmonic nanostructures can provide optical nanocircuitry with possibility of tailoring optical electric fields with desired patterns in subwavelength regions for future processing of optical information at the nanoscale, optical antennas and sensors for beam shaping and photonic wireless at the nanoscale, nanospectrometers for molecular spectroscopy and nanotagging, ENZ-based supercoupling effects in waveguides that result in tunneling, bending, and squeezing electromagnetic energy through ultranarrow subwavelength channels and bends, molecular emission enhancement in optical metamaterials, optical nanoscopy using superlenses and hyperlenses involving metamaterial structures, and cloaking of objects with metamaterials and plasmonic covers, just to name a few.
In this talk, I present an overview of the concepts, salient features, recent developments, and some of the potential applications of metamaterials and nanoplasmonic structures, and will forecast some futures ideas and directions in these areas.

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