All-optical control of plasmons can enable optical switches with high speeds, small footprints and high on/off ratios. Here we demonstrate ultrafast plasmon modulation in the near-infrared (NIR) to mid-infrared (MIR) range by intraband pumping of indium tin oxide nanorod arrays (ITO-NRAs). We observe redshifts of localized surface plasmon resonances arising from a change of the plasma frequency of ITO, which is governed by the conduction band non-parabolicity. We generalize the plasma frequency for non-parabolic bands, quantitatively model the fluence-dependent plasma frequency shifts, and show that different from noble metals, the lower electron density in ITO enables a remarkable change of electron distributions, yielding a significant plasma frequency modulation and concomitant large transient bleaches and induced absorptions, which can be tuned spectrally by tailoring the ITO-NRA geometry. The low electron heat capacity explains the sub-picosecond kinetics that is much faster than noble metals. Our work demonstrates a new scheme to control infrared plasmons for optical switching, telecommunications and sensing.
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The work was funded by the MRSEC program (NSF DMR-1121262) at Northwestern University. Use of the Center for Nanoscale Materials was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. This work made use of the EPIC facility (NUANCE Center-Northwestern University), which has received support from the MRSEC program (NSF DMR-1121262) at the Materials Research Center; the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN); and the State of Illinois, through the IIN. The work also used the Northwestern University Micro/Nano Fabrication Facility (NUFAB), which is supported by the State of Illinois and Northwestern University.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Guo, P., Schaller, R., Ketterson, J. et al. Ultrafast switching of tunable infrared plasmons in indium tin oxide nanorod arrays with large absolute amplitude. Nature Photon 10, 267–273 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2016.14
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