Linear-optical logic gates have the potential to be the bases of the next-generation information technology (IT) because of the low power consumption and rapid response. This study proposes a general theoretical model to obtain the optimal solutions for linear-optical logic gates. All common logic gates (AND, OR, NOT, NAND, NOR, XOR, and XNOR) are experimentally demonstrated with one single sample structure based on ultracompact plasmonic waveguides. The measured intensity contrast ratio between the output-logic “1” and “0” states reaches 28 dB for the OR gate and 9.4 dB for the AND gate, thereby approaching the theoretical maximum of infinity and 9.5 dB, respectively. The proposed logic gates provide uniform output intensities for identical output logics when the input logics are different. The measured intensity discrepancies are below 1% for the three output-logic “1” states of the OR gate and the three output-logic “0” states of the AND gate. This phenomenon is favored in practical applications and the cascading of logic gates. The proposed universal linear-optical logic gate with maximal intensity contrast ratios may find important future applications in the field of IT.
Polarization beam splitters (PBSs) are one of the key components in the integrated photonic circuits. To increase the integration density, various complex hybrid plasmonic structures have been numerically designed to shrink the footprints of the PBSs. Here, to decrease the complexity of the small hybrid structures and the difficulty of the hybrid micro-nano fabrications, the radiation losses are utilized to experimentally demonstrate an ultra-small, broadband, and efficient PBS in a simple bending hybrid plasmonic waveguide structure. The hybrid plasmonic waveguide comprising a dielectric strip on the metal surface supports both the transverse-magnetic (TM) and transverse-electric (TE) waveguide modes. Because of the different field confinements, the TE waveguide mode has larger radiation loss than the TM waveguide mode in the bending hybrid strip waveguide. Based on the different radiation losses, the two incident waveguide modes of orthogonal polarization states are efficiently split in the proposed structure with a footprint of only about 2.2 × 2.2 μm2 on chips. Since there is no resonance or interference in the splitting process, the operation bandwidth is as broad as Δλ = 70 nm. Moreover, the utilization of the strongly confined waveguide modes instead of the bulk free-space light (with the spot size of at least a few wavelengths) as the incident source considerably increases the coupling efficiency, resulting in a low insertion loss of <3 dB.
High-sensitivity plasmonic refractive index sensors show great applications in the areas of the biomedical diagnostics, healthcare, food safety, environmental monitoring, homeland security, and chemical reaction. However, the unstable and complicated environments considerably limit their practical applications. By employing the independent double Fano resonances in a simple metallic grating, we experimentally demonstrated a self-reference plasmonic sensor, which significantly reduces the error contributions of the light intensity fluctuations in the long-distance propagation and local temperature variations at the metallic grating, and the detection accuracy is guaranteed. The numerical simulation shows that the two Fano resonances have different originations and are independent with each other. As a result, the left Fano resonance is quite sensitive to the refractive index variations above the metal surface, while the right Fano resonance is insensitive to that. Experimentally, a high figure of merit (FOM) of 31 RIU-1 and FOM* of 860 RIU-1 are realized by using the left Fano resonance. More importantly, by using the right Fano resonance as a reference signal, the influence of the light intensity fluctuations and local temperature variations are monitored and eliminated in the experiment. This simple self-reference plasmonic sensor based on the double Fano resonances may find important applications in high-sensitive and accurate sensing under the unstable and complicated environments, as well as multi-parameter sensing.
Plasmonic nanostructures, which are used to generate surface plasmon polaritions (SPPs), always involve sharp corners where the charges can accumulate. This can result in strong localized electromagnetic fields at the metallic corners, forming the hot spots. The influence of the hot spots on the propagating SPPs are investigated theoretically and experimentally in a metallic slit structure. It is found that the electromagnetic fields radiated from the hot spots, termed as the hot spot cylindrical wave (HSCW), can greatly manipulate the SPP launching in the slit structure. The physical mechanism behind the manipulation of the SPP launching with the HSCW is explicated by a semi-analytic model. By using the HSCW, unidirectional SPP launching is experimentally realized in an ultra-small metallic step-slit structure. The HSCW bridges the localized surface plasmons and the propagating surface plasmons in an integrated platform and thus may pave a new route to the design of plasmonic devices and circuits.