With the rapid development of nanofabrication technology and powerful computational tools over the last decade, nanophotonics has enjoyed tremendous innovation and found wide applications in ultrahigh-speed data transmission, sensitive optical detection, manipulation of ultra-small objects, and visualization of nanoscale patterns. Surface plasmon-based photonics (or plasmonics) merges electronics and photonics at the nanoscale, creating the ability to combine the superior technical advantages of photonics and electronics on the same chip. Plasmonics focuses on the innovation of photonic devices by exploiting the optical property of metals. In particular, the oscillation of free electrons, when properly driven by electromagnetic waves, would form plasmon-polaritons in the vicinity of a metal surface and potentially result in extreme light confinement, which may beat the diffraction limit faced by conventional photonic devices and enable greatly enhanced light-matter interactions at the deep subwavelength scale. The objective of this dissertation is to develop subwavelength or deep subwavelength plasmonic waveguides and explore their integration on conventional dielectric platforms for multiple applications. Three novel structures (or mechanisms) are employed to develop and integrate nanoplasmonic waveguides; each consists of one part of the dissertation. The first part of this dissertation covers the design, fabrication, and demonstration of two-dimensional and three-dimensional metal-insulator-metal plasmonic couplers for mode transformation between photonic and nanoplasmonic domains on the silicon-on-insulator platform. In particular, deep subwavelength plasmonic modes under 100-nm are achieved via end-fire coupling and adiabatic mode transformation at telecom wavelengths. The second part studies metallic gratings as spoof plasmonic waveguides hosting deep subwavelength surface propagation modes. Metallic gratings under different dielectric coatings are numerically investigated for terahertz and gigahertz regions. The third part proposes, explores, and experimentally demonstrates the "metametal" for super surface wave excitation based on multilayered metal-insulator stacks, where the dispersion of the supported surface modes can be engineered by insulator dopant films in a given metal. The final part discusses the potential applications of active plasmonics for optical sensing, modulation and photovoltaics.
Microsystems Engineering (Ph.D.)
Department, Program, or Center
Microsystems Engineering (KGCOE)
Bruce W. Smith
Harvey J. Palmer
Yang, Ruoxi, "Subwavelength Surface Plasmons Based on Novel Structures and Metamaterials" (2013). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus