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Transparent Conducting Oxides for Epsilon-Near-Zero Nanophotonics
thesisposted on 17.01.2019, 03:03 by Clayton T. Devault
Epsilon-near-zero materials are an emerging class of nanophotonic materials which engender electromagnetic field enhancement and small phase variation due to their approximate zero permittivity. These quasi-static fields facilitate a number of unique optical properties such as supercoupling, subwavelength confinement, and enhanced light-matter interactions, which has made epsilon-near-zero media a rapidly expanding field of optical physics. Contemporary methods of realizing a system with zero permittivity rely on microwave cavities/waveguides or complex metal-dielectric metamaterials; however, both techniques require advanced fabrication and their operational wavelength is fixed relative to their geometric and optical parameters. It remains an open and substantial challenge to realize an epsilon-near-zero material at pertinent wavelengths, particularly near- and mid-infrared, with tunable/dynamic properties. The focus of this thesis is the exploration of transparent conducting oxides for the development of epsilon-near-zero nanophotonic phenomena and applications. Transparent conducting oxides have an inherent low permittivity, in addition to simple fabrication and tunable optical properties, making them exceptionally promising. Application of transparent conducting oxide films for highly confined modes, nonlinear/ultrafast optics, and strongly coupled systems are discussed.