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Unidirectional and diffractionless surface plasmon-polaritons on three-dimensional nonreciprocal plasmonic platforms

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posted on 2023-11-29, 05:00 authored by S. Ali Hassani Gangaraj, George W. Hanson, Mario G. Silveirinha, Kunal Shastri, Mauro Antezza, Francesco Monticone
Light-matter interactions in conventional nanophotonic structures typically lack directionality. Furthermore, surface waves supported by conventional material substrates do not usually have a preferential direction of propagation, and their wavefront tends to spread as it propagates along the surface, unless the surface or the excitation are properly engineered and structured. In this article, we theoretically demonstrate the possibility of realizing \emph{unidirectional and diffractionless surface-plasmon-polariton modes} on a nonreciprocal platform, namely, a gyrotropic magnetized plasma. Based on a rigorous Green function approach, we provide a comprehensive and systematic analysis of all the available physical mechanisms that may bestow the system with directionality, both in the sense of one-way excitation of surface waves, and in the sense of directive diffractionless propagation along the surface. The considered mechanisms include (i) the effect of strong and weak forms of nonreciprocity, (ii) the elliptic-like or hyperbolic-like topology of the modal dispersion surfaces, and (iii) the source polarization state, with the associated possibility of chiral surface-wave excitation governed by angular-momentum matching. We find that three-dimensional gyrotropic plasmonic platforms support a previously-unnoticed wave-propagation regime that exhibit several of these physical mechanisms simultaneously, allowing us to theoretically demonstrate, for the first time, unidirectional surface-plasmon-polariton modes that propagate as a single ultra-narrow diffractionless beam. We also assess the impact of dissipation and nonlocal effects. Our theoretical findings may enable a new generation of plasmonic structures and devices with highly directional response.

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