Fast surface plasmon-polariton-based optical phase modulator

O. Guilatt, B. Apter, U. Efron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


There exists a growing need for fast spatial optical phase modulators in various applications including laser communication for both terrestrial and ground-to-space communications, ultrafast laser pulse shaping as well as in medical imaging. The two principal phase spatial light modulator technologies currently available namely, liquid crystal and digital micro-mirror are limited to frame rates of a few kHz. A need therefore exists for faster MHz-range spatial phase modulating devices. Existing solid state electro-optical modulators such as based on LiNbO3 crystal, although capable of GHz rate modulation rates, cannot be used for 2-D spatial light modulation. This is due to their relatively small electro-optical coefficient which requires the use of a relatively thick layer and its associated large, (100's of Volt) modulating signal, thereby barring their practical use as spatial light or phase modulators. Surface plasmon polariton resonances which can be excited at the metal-dielectric interfaces have been shown to significantly affect both the amplitude and the phase of the traversing optical beam. In this work we present a preliminary study of metallic nanoparticles embedded in a solid state electro-optical modulator (EOM), as potential spatial phase modulating device. Here, the spatial refractive index modulation of the EOM, allows, the modulation of either amplitude of phase modulation, with the added advantage of potentially ultra-fast frame rates. The results of computer simulations, based on finite difference time domain (FDTD) method, with various nano-particle geometries are reported, describing the achievable phase modulation along with the associated absorption losses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlasmonics
Subtitle of host publicationNanoimaging, Nanofabrication, and their Applications V
StatePublished - 18 Nov 2009
EventPlasmonics: Nanoimaging, Nanofabrication, and their Applications V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 2 Aug 20096 Aug 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferencePlasmonics: Nanoimaging, Nanofabrication, and their Applications V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • FDTD simulations
  • LSPR
  • Phase Modulator
  • Spatial light modulator
  • Surface plasmon polariton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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