Spin-orbit coupling in graphene-based nanostructures with broken rotational symmetry

Spin and angular momenta of light are important degrees of freedom in nanophotonics which control light propagation, optical forces and information encoding. Typically, optical angular momentum is generated using q-plates or spatial light modulators. Here, we show that graphene-supported plasmonic nanostructures with broken rotational symmetry provide a surprising spin to orbital angular momentum conversion, which can be continuously controlled by changing the electrochemical potential of graphene. Upon resonant illumination by a circularly polarized plane wave, a polygonal array of indium-tin-oxide nanoparticles on a graphene sheet generates scattered field carrying electrically-tunable orbital angular momentum. This unique photonic spin-orbit coupling occurs due to the strong coupling of graphene plasmon polaritons and localised surface plasmons of the nanoparticles and leads to the controlled directional excitation of graphene plasmons. The tuneable spin-orbit conversion pave the way to high-rate information encoding in optical communications, electric steering functionalities in optical tweezers, and nanorouting of higher-dimensional entangled photon states.

Ciattoni et al in arXiv:2002.12058

Multipolar terahertz spectroscopy by graphene plasmons

Terahertz absorption spectroscopy plays a key role in physical, chemical and biological systems as a powerful tool to identify molecular species through their rotational spectrum fingerprint. Owing to the sub-nanometer scale of molecules, radiation-matter coupling is typically dominated by dipolar interaction. Here we show that multipolar rotational spectroscopy of molecules in proximity of localized graphene structures can be accessed through the extraordinary enhancement of their multipolar transitions provided by terahertz plasmons. In particular, specializing our calculations to homonuclear diatomic molecules, we demonstrate that a micron-sized graphene ring with a nano-hole at the core combines a strong near-field enhancement and an inherently pronounced field localization enabling the enhancement of the dipole-forbidden terahertz absorption cross-section of H+2H2+ by 8 orders of magnitude. Our results shed light on the strong potential offered by nano-structured graphene as a robust and electrically tunable platform for multipolar terahertz absorption spectroscopy at the nanoscale.

A. Ciattoni, C. Conti, and A. Marini in Communication Physics

Accelerated electrons go farther if out-of-equilibrium


We explore the nonlinear response of plasmonic materials driven by ultrashort pulses of electromagnetic radiation with temporal duration of few femtoseconds and high peak intensity. By developing the Fokker-Planck-Landau theory of electron collisions, we solve analytically the collisional integral and derive a novel set of hydrodynamical equations accounting for plasma dynamics at ultrashort time scales. While in the limit of small light intensities we recover the well established Drude model of plasmas, in the high intensity limit we observe nonlinear quenching of collision-induced damping leading to absorption saturation. Our results provide a general background to understand electron dynamics in plasmonic materials with promising photonic applications in the manipulation of plasma waves with reduced absorption at the femtosecond time scale.

Andrea Marini, Alessandro Ciattoni, and Claudio Conti, Collision quenching in the ultrafast dynamics of plasmonic materials in ArXiv:1808.03669

OUTNANO out-of-equilibrium nanophotonics

OUTNANO is a Marie Curie Fellowship in the H2020 program funding activity on Out of Equilibrium Nano-photonics

The Marie Curie Fellow is Andrea Marini, a top level young scientist with an extended research career in Nonlinear Photonics.

A new approach for studying novel optical materials in out-of-equilibrium ultrafast dynamics is the goal of this interdisciplinary projects committing together ideas of statical mechanics of complex systems and nonlinear photonics. We will conceive a new generation of nonlinear devices operating at the fastest achievable speeds for classical and quantum applications.

Team of the OUTNANO project

Andrea Marini

Claudio Conti