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Giant Kerr response of ultrathin gold films from quantum size effect.

  • Author(s): Qian, Haoliang;
  • Xiao, Yuzhe;
  • Liu, Zhaowei
  • et al.

With the size of plasmonic devices entering into the nanoscale region, the impact of quantum physics needs to be considered. In the past, the quantum size effect on linear material properties has been studied extensively. However, the nonlinear aspects have not been explored much so far. On the other hand, much effort has been put into the field of integrated nonlinear optics and a medium with large nonlinearity is desirable. Here we study the optical nonlinear properties of a nanometre scale gold quantum well by using the z-scan method and nonlinear spectrum broadening technique. The quantum size effect results in a giant optical Kerr susceptibility, which is four orders of magnitude higher than the intrinsic value of bulk gold and several orders larger than traditional nonlinear media. Such high nonlinearity enables efficient nonlinear interaction within a microscopic footprint, making quantum metallic films a promising candidate for integrated nonlinear optical applications.

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