This project deals with Optical Negative-Index Materials (ONIMs) - a novel class of artificial (meta) materials that display unusual physical properties, most notably, negative index of refraction, and that can serve as a starting point for development of new devices and applications, e.g. optical sensing and imaging with sub-wavelength spatial resolution.

To develop both, fundamental knowledge and new devices/applications in the ONIMs area, we have assembled an inter-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers from a number of Organizations, representing Academia and Industry, from the United States and overseas.

Our team consists of three expertise groups focused on

  1. Materials/fabrication
  2. Devices/applications
  3. Theory/modeling

Experts from all groups work collaboratively to develop fundamental knowledge and core technologies for integration of light with Negative-Index Materials.

The research program comprises three principal thrusts:

  1. Development of low-loss ONIMs, including theory, design and fabrication
  2. Addressing the issue of tuneability and nonlinearity of ONIMs
  3. Development of ONIMs-based applications in
    • Micro-/nano-photonics
    • Imaging/sensing
    • Nanolithography

We will develop passive and active ONIMs based on 2D and 3D structures formed from all-dielectric or metal-dielectric metamaterials (see examples on the right).

To resolve the critical problem of losses, we will employ low-loss structures, such as dielectric photonic crystals and highly innovative asymmetric (anisotropic) waveguides. We will also use gain media in which losses for surface plasmons are compensated by the gain.

Finally, to enable full functionality of ONIM-based devices, we will incorporate highly-nonlinear inclusions in the ONIM structure to provide record-high optical nonlinearities and make ONIMs electro-optically and nonlinear-optically tunable/switchable and reconfigurable.

Examples of the ONIM designs that will be
explored in the course of the project

An ONIM based on an array of nanowires.

Metal nanoparticles composite, acting as ONIM.

Metal nanoparticles (grey spheres) in an
anisotropic dielectric host (red).

A 2D planar metallo-dielectric ONIM
designed for low-loss operation.

A dielectric photonic crystal, functioning
as a low-loss ONIM