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Loss compensation and super-resolution with excitations at complex frequencies
preprintposted on 2023-04-04, 16:00 authored by Seunghwi Kim, Yu-Gui Peng, Simon Yves, Andrea Alù
Abbe diffraction limit fundamentally bounds the resolution of conventional optical imaging and spectroscopic systems. Along the years, several schemes have been introduced to overcome this limit, each offering opportunities and trade-offs. Metamaterials have been proposed as a promising platform in this context, in principle enabling superlenses capable of drastic resolution enhancements. However, their performance is severely hindered by material loss and nonlocal phenomena, which become increasingly more detrimental as we attempt to image more subwavelength details. Active metamaterials have been explored to overcome these challenges, however material gain introduces other obstacles, e.g., instabilities, nonlinearities and noise. Here, we demonstrate that the temporal excitation of passive superlenses using signals oscillating at complex frequencies compensates material loss, leading to resolution enhancement. Our results demonstrate that virtual gain stemming from tailored forms of excitation can tackle the impact of loss in superlenses. More broadly, our work opens promising avenues for loss compensation in metamaterials, with a broad range of applications extendable to optics and nanophotonic systems.