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Generation and amplification of surface plasmon polaritons at telecom wavelength with compact semiconductor-based devices

Abstract : The field of plasmonics is experiencing a rapid development, due to the interest in studying the behavior of light at the nanometer scale. Key ingredients of plasmonics are the surface plasmons (SPs), electromagnetic modes localized at the interface between a metal and a dielectric. SPs rely on the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and conduction electrons at metallic interfaces or in "small" metallic nanostructures. The recent intense activity on plasmonics has been also enabled by state-of-the-art nano fabrication techniques and by high-sensitivity optical characterization techniques. These tools pave the way to promising applications (integration in electronics, chemical and biological detection...), which exploit the SP peculiarity of confining optical fields over sub-wavelength mode volumes. The number of publications concerning plasmonics has been continuously increasing over the last twenty years giving rise to a dynamic research context. Several plasmonic devices have been demonstrated during the last years (modulators, couplers, detectors ...). However their integration is limited by the absence of a compact generator (electrical pumping, small dimensions) and by the huge ohmic losses. Standard techniques for surface plasmon polariton (SPP) generation need an external alignment with a laser source on a prism or on a grating. Our approach is based on semiconductor lasers sources with a transverse magnetic (TM) polarization. Therefore, it is possible to obtain compact semiconductor devices suitable for the on chip integration. During my thesis I studied experimentally and numerically the performance of a diode laser as a function of the metal distance from its active region. The proximity of the gain to the metal is necessary to realize active plasmonic devices. I demonstrated the generation and the amplification of SPP in the telecom range (λ=1.3µm) with compact semiconductor based devices, operating at room temperature and by electrical injection. I realized an elegant architecture with an integrated coupler grating for the SPP generation. The SPPs are directly accessible at the device surface. An ultra-thin cladding device allowed the demonstration of a hybrid plasmonic laser with a consistent fraction of electric field at the metal/semiconductor interface. Finally I demonstrated that the metal patterning allows a loss reduction, decreasing the laser threshold. The results are strengthened by a new near-field technique (NSOM) which permitted to measure the SPPs at the metal/air interface and at the metal/semiconductor interface. Thanks to the NSOM we showed unambiguously the effect of the metal patterning on the optical mode.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 5:07:09 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00828337, version 1

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Daniele Costantini. Generation and amplification of surface plasmon polaritons at telecom wavelength with compact semiconductor-based devices. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA112036⟩. ⟨tel-00828337⟩

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