Low-Loss Plasmonic Metamaterials | Science/AAAS: Metals have traditionally been the material of choice for the building blocks, but they suffer from high resistive losses—even metals with the highest conductivities, silver and gold, exhibit excessive losses at optical frequencies that restrict the development of devices in this frequency range. The development of new materials for low-loss MM components and telecommunication devices is therefore required.
Metamaterials and plasmonics exploit another revolutionary field in photonics, whereby the features of photonics and electronics are combined by coupling the energy and momentum of a photon to a free electron gas in the form of surface plasmons. Surface plasmons propagate on the surface of the metal, and enable the routing and manipulation of light at the nanoscale (4). Plasmonic MMs face the challenge associated with overcoming the losses that dampen these sub-wavelength coupled excitations.