Beating Electronic Speed Limit with Light

Along the path towards the development of alternative materials for nanophotonic applications, Dr. M Ferrera and his collaborators from Scottish and American institutions, have investigated novel nonlinear phenomena in transparent conductive oxides. These materials because of their hybrid nature in between metal and semiconductors bring the promise to overcome the stringer technological limitation of plasmonic systems, namely high ohmic losses, lack of tunability, and incompatibility with standard semiconductor fabrication processes. By exciting these compounds with optical radiation below and above the material band-gap, Dr. Ferrera and his research team discovered that when working at an operational wavelength close to the point at zero real dielectric permittivity, both material absorption and refractive index can be largely manipulated in an ultra-fast fashion. These results have direct and remarkable implications for developing optical logic units, all-optical communication devices, and integrated sources of nonclassical states of light.

Nature Communications 8:15829

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