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Controlling light with metamaterial-based nonlinear photonic crystals


Since the seminal paper by Bloembergen and colleagues on nonlinear optical interactions1, this field has supplied some of the most important contributions to optics-related science and applications, including the exceptional ability to generate coherent light throughout the optical spectrum2,3,4. Recently, a new family of nanostructured optical materials, so called metamaterials, with artificial effective nonlinearities has been demonstrated5,6,7,8,9,10. Controlling their nonlinear output has the potential to open up a whole new area of fundamental research and lead to the development of efficient, active, integrated and ultra-compact nonlinear optical devices. Here, we experimentally demonstrate unprecedented control over the nonlinear emission from metamaterials by constructing the first nonlinear metamaterial-based photonic crystals. We specifically demonstrate engineered nonlinear diffraction and all-optical scanning, enabling ultra-wide angular scanning of the nonlinear output from the metamaterial. We also demonstrate intense focusing of the nonlinear signal directly from the metamaterial, resulting in an intensity enhanced by nearly two orders of magnitude.

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Figure 1: Manipulating the direction of nonlinear emission by NLMPCs.
Figure 2: Experimental demonstration of nonlinear diffraction from an NLMPC.
Figure 3: Nonlinear diffraction from two-dimensional NLMPCs.
Figure 4: Experimental manipulation of the direction of SH radiation and all-optical scanning.
Figure 5: Nonlinear Fresnel zone plate from NLMPC.


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This research was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (grant no. 1331/13) and by the European Commission Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (grant no. 333821). S.K.Z. acknowledges support from the Tel-Aviv University Center for Renewable Energy President Scholarship for Outstanding PhD Students. The authors thank Y. Sivan and S. Fleischer for discussions and comments on this work.

Author information




N.S. performed the numerical simulations, designed and constructed the experimental set-up, and carried out measurements and data analysis. S.K.-Z. performed numerical simulations, carried out data analysis and helped with the measurements. N.H. fabricated the samples. T.E. initiated and mentored the project. All authors discussed the results, contributed to data interpretation and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Nadav Segal or Tal Ellenbogen.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Segal, N., Keren-Zur, S., Hendler, N. et al. Controlling light with metamaterial-based nonlinear photonic crystals. Nature Photon 9, 180–184 (2015).

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