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September 07, 2010

A combinatorial approach to speed discovery of metamaterials

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Combinatorial library, meta-molecules and resonant modes. (a) Schematic of a combinatorial metamaterial library. (b) Schematic of the metamaterial unit cell. (c) and (d) show scanning electron micrographs of metamaterial unit cells of size s = 500 nm with small and large gap position asymmetries, = 1/7 and 1. (e) Characteristic I symmetric and II-III antisymmetric modes of excitation associated with the absorption resonances for asymmetries = 1/7 and 1. The plotted field distributions correspond to excitation wavelengths of 820, 1025 and 1200 nm, respectively.

A combinatorial approach to metamaterials discovery has been developed to test dozens of metamaterial combinations at one time.

We report a high through-put combinatorial approach to photonic metamaterial optimization. The new approach is based on parallel synthesis and consecutive optical characterization of large numbers of spatially addressable nano-fabricated metamaterial samples (libraries) with quasi-continuous variation of design parameters under real manufacturing conditions. We illustrate this method for Fano-resonance plasmonic nanostructures arriving at explicit recipes for high quality factors needed for switching and sensing applications.

Combinatorial chemistry is used to test thousands of different but structurally related molecules to speed drug discovery and now this related technique will speed up the discovery of metamaterials with unusual electromagnetic properties.
Two libraries of regular 30 × 30 micron arrays of split ring apertures in a 30 nm thick layer of gold were fabricated by electron beam lithography on a glass wafer.
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