Subwavelength integrated photonics
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In the late nineteenth century, Heinrich Hertz demonstrated that the electromagnetic properties of materials are intimately related to their structure at the subwavelength scale by using wire grids with centimetre spacing to manipulate metre-long radio waves. More recently, the availability of nanometre-scale fabrication techniques has inspired scientists to investigate subwavelength-structured metamaterials with engineered optical properties at much shorter wavelengths, in the infrared and visible regions of the spectrum. Here we review how optical metamaterials are expected to enhance the performance of the next generation of integrated photonic devices, and explore some of the challenges encountered in the transition from concept demonstration to viable technology.
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