University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Metamaterials Research Group Seminars > Could surface plasma waves be made intrinsically lossless?

Could surface plasma waves be made intrinsically lossless?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Miguel Navarro-Cia.

Surface plasma waves (SPWs) have been a subject of great interest for many decades. They are a fundamental phenomenon in surface science and being passionately pursued for their practical uses in nanoscale optics and other areas. While a lot has been learned of these waves, puzzles remain regarding some of their elementary properties. A pertinent example is concerned with damping. It is widely believed that SPWs decay mainly because of electronic collisions (Joule heating) and the excitation of electron-hole pairs (leading to Landau damping and inter-band absorption), the latter considered to be especially pronounced for short wavelength waves relevant to nano-optics. Though a widely held view, it represents a significant overestimate: the actually observed losses are often much lower, and could be less than that of Landau damping. In this talk, I will reappraise the theoretical foundation underlying the conventional wisdom and discuss what might be missing in it. A generic macroscopic theory of SPWs shall be presented as the basis of our discussions, which is applicable regardless of the electronic dynamics models, be they classical or quantum mechanical, local or nonlocal. This allows us to establish a unified view of various models that have been invoked in the literature. These include the local dielectric model (LDM), the hydrodynamic model (HDM), the specular reflection model (SRM), and the semi-classical model (SCM) based on kinetic equations. I shall further argue for the possibility of creating lossless SPWs allowed by the semi-classical model, and the impossibility by other models.

This talk is part of the Metamaterials Research Group Seminars series.

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