Electron-fed transducing optical antennas
Dr. Alexandre Bouhelier, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté
Optical information is generally transported on a chip via integrated photonic and plasmonic waveguiding platforms. The growing penetration of optical interconnects at the microscale is enabling fast and reliable data transfer down to on-card system level. However, optical and electric cross talks between vias, thermal envelope, and the drastic increase of power consumption with number of links are limiting factors for using current technologies at the nanoscale. Interfacing remote laser sources and functional information-processing elements is central for merging photon-based communication platform with a control electronic layer. In this presentation, we introduce a paradigm shift in on-chip optical broadcasting of information to counter constraints of physical links. We developed a novel generation of electron-controlled optical metal antennas to deliver nanometer-size transducing feed converting optical energy into an electrical signal and vise versa. Our concept provides a novel approach where the light source and the detector are integrated into a single metallic nanostructure. At the core of the device is an atomic-scale tunnel gap whereby optical rectification, inelastic tunneling, and hot carriers can reciprocally mix photons and electrons.
Finally, we will discuss recent results on free-space communication between an optically excited nanoscale antenna and a distant transducing rectenna. The link constitutes a wireless optical interconnection between two remote functional nano-transceivers. We quantitatively explore the range of operation of the wireless link and discuss the opto-electrical properties of the optical rectenna interfacing photon information to an electronic stimulus.