Dynamic Control of Nanocavities with Tunable Metal Oxides

Jongbum Kim, Enrico Giuseppe Carnemolla, Clayton DeVault, Amr M. Shaltout, Daniele Faccio, Vladimir M. Shalaev, Alexander V. Kildishev, Marcello Ferrera, Alexandra Boltasseva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


Fabry-Pérot metal-insulator-metal (MIM) nanocavities are widely used in nanophotonic applications due to their extraordinary electromagnetic properties and deeply subwavelength dimensions. However, the spectral response of nanocavities is usually controlled by the spatial separation between the two reflecting mirrors and the spacer's refractive index. Here, we demonstrate static and dynamic control of Fabry-Pérot nanocavities by inserting a plasmonic metasurface, as a passive element, and a gallium doped-zinc oxide (Ga:ZnO) layer as a dynamically tunable component within the nanocavities' spacer. Specifically, by changing the design of the silver (Ag) metasurface one can "statically" tailor the nanocavity response, tuning the resonance up to 200 nm. To achieve the dynamic tuning, we utilize the large nonlinear response of the Ga:ZnO layer near the epsilon near zero wavelength to enable effective subpicosecond (<400 fs) optical modulation (80%) at reasonably low pump fluence levels (9 mJ/cm2). We demonstrate a 15 nm red shift of a near-infrared Fabry-Pérot resonance (λ ∼ 1.16 μm) by using a degenerate pump probe technique. We also study the carrier dynamics of Ga:ZnO under intraband photoexcitation via the electronic band structure calculated from first-principles density functional method. This work provides a versatile approach to design metal nanocavities by utilizing both the phase variation with plasmonic metasurfaces and the strong nonlinear response of metal oxides. Tailorable and dynamically controlled nanocavities could pave the way to the development of the next generation of ultrafast nanophotonic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-746
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number2
Early online date28 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2018


  • epsilon near zero
  • Metal oxides
  • modulator
  • nano cavity
  • pump?probe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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