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Gain-endowed metallic meta-structures and devices: towards a unification of photonics and electronics (GEM)
Start date: Oct 1, 2012, End date: Sep 30, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"This research project aims at building a common framework for photonic and meta-material /electronic devices. As specific examples, we will focus on making key advances for THz and mid-infrared emitters and detectors. Our goal is to demonstrate device functionalities which cannot be achieved within the current scientific/technological framework.We will implement these concepts on quantum cascade lasers, a family of devices whose potential has seen an explosion in the last few years. They cover the THz (1-10THz) and mid-infrared (10-100THz) ranges of the spectrum, of great importance for medical and environmental applications, and security screening. Their spectral location - between near-infrared and microwaves - makes them ideal candidates to profit from both worlds.We will first address a fundamental physical issue, then we’ll turn to device applications. While optical resonators are constrained to a minimum dimension set by the wavelength, a peculiar signature of an electronic oscillator is its independence from it. Our first goal is the demonstration of an optical oscillator/laser with the functionalities of an electronic oscillator, i.e. with fundamentally no lower size limit in the three dimensions of space. It will behave as a point-source of radiation.We will then focus on ground-breaking demonstrations in the THz and mid-infrared ranges of the spectrum: THz lasers which are frequency tuneable acting on a disentangled (electronic) section; electronically beam-steerable devices; antenna-coupled THz quantum detectors. The integration with MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) is also developed in the proposal. This project will also open up horizons and research opportunities on longer-term topics. We will develop strategies to compensate the ohmic losses of mid-IR meta-materials, in order to extend the developed concepts to mid-IR devices."

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