Experiments in Nonlinear Optics with Epsilon-Near-Zero Materials

Title: Experiments in Nonlinear Optics with Epsilon-Near-Zero Materials
Authors: Alam, Mohammad Zahirul
Date: 2020-09-23
Abstract: Nonlinear optics is the study of interactions of materials with intense light beams made possible by the invention of laser. Arguably the most trivial but technologically most important nonlinear optical effect is the intensity-dependent nonlinear refraction: an intense light beam can temporarily and reversibly change the refractive index of a material. However, the changes to the refractive index of a material due to the presence of a strong laser beam are very weak---maximum on the order of $10^{-3}$---and tend to be a small fraction of the linear refractive index. It must be noted that at optical frequencies vacuum has a refractive index of 1 and glass has a refractive index of 1.5. Thus, one of the foundational assumptions of nonlinear optics is that the nonlinear optical changes to material properties are always a small perturbation to the linear response. In the 58-year history of nonlinear optics, one of the overarching themes of research has been to find ways to increase the efficiency of nonlinear interactions. This thesis is a collection of six manuscripts motivated by our experimental finding that at least in a certain class of materials the above long-standing view of nonlinear optics does not necessarily hold true. We have found that in a material with low refractive index, known as an epsilon-near-zero material or ENZ material, the nonlinear changes to the refractive index can be a few times larger than the linear refractive index, i.e. the nonlinear response becomes the dominant response of the material in the presence of an intense optical beam. We believe that the results presented in this thesis collectively make a convincing case that ENZ materials are a promising platform for nonlinear nano-optics.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/41088
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -