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Overcoming losses in superlenses with synthetic waves of complex frequency
preprintposted on 2023-03-30, 16:01 authored by Fuxin Guan, Kebo Zeng, Zhaoyu Nie, Xiangdong Guo, Shaojie Ma, Qing Dai, John B. Pendry, Xiang Zhang, Shuang Zhang
Superlenses made of plasmonic materials and metamaterials have been exploited to image features of sub-diffractional scale. However, their intrinsic losses impose a serious restriction on the imaging resolution, which is a long-standing problem that has hindered wide-spread applications of superlenses. Optical waves of complex frequency exhibiting a temporally attenuating behavior have been proposed to offset the intrinsic losses in superlenses via virtual gain, but the experimental realization has been missing due to the challenge involved in preparing the illumination with temporal decay. Here, by employing multi-frequency measurement, we successfully implement a synthetic optical wave of complex frequency to experimentally observe deep-subwavelength superimaging patterns enabled by the virtual gain. Our work represents a practical approach to overcoming the intrinsic losses of plasmonic systems for imaging and sensing applications.