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By breaking the diffraction limit, plasmonics enable the miniaturization of integrated optical signal processing units in a platform compatible with traditional CMOS technology. In such architectures, modulators and switches are essential elements for fast and low-power optical signal processing. This work reviews the state-of-the-art on electro-optical plasmonic integrated components, comprising different propagation length scales and tuning mechanisms. Among these, particular attention is paid to the Pockels effect in non-linear polymers and the electro-optical switching of nematic liquid crystalline materials.Plasmonics is a rapidly expanding scientific discipline that deals, among others, with the properties of surface plasmon polaritons, ie light waves propagating at the interface between metals and dielectrics. Such transmission of optical signals can take place at deeply sub-wavelength scales, not limited by the traditional diffraction limit. Thus, integrated plasmonic circuits are envisaged as the missing link between electronics and photonics that combines the dense integration of the first with the high bandwidth, lower latency and reduced power dissipation of the latter [1]. Essential parts of integrated optical architectures are tunable components such as modulators and switches that convert the electrical signal to optical pulses and control their route through the circuit. In this respect, the plasmonics platform offers a significant advantage, namely the capability to use the metallic parts not only as light guides in highly-compact geometeries, but also as the electrodes that dynamically control the properties of electro-optically responsive materials …
Publication date: 
1 Jan 2015

DC Zografopoulos, MA Swillam, L Shehada, R Beccherelli

Biblio References: 
the 6th International Conference on Metamaterials, Photonic Crystals and Plasmonics, META’15