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Hybrid Terahertz Metamaterials: From Perfect Absorption to Superconducting Plasmonics


Metamaterials operating at terahertz (THz) region of the electromagnetic spectrum have remained have remained a promising area of study not only for realizing technologies in a historically underdeveloped spectral regime, but also as a scientific tool for exploring and controlling fundamental physical phenomena at meV energy scales in a variety of condensed matter systems. In this thesis, I will present several projects in which metamaterials and more traditional condensed matter systems are integrated into hybrid metamaterial systems. We leverage these systems to realize new practical THz devices, as well as to couple to and control quantum phenomena in condensed matter systems. I will begin with an introduction to the conceptual, numerical, and experimental techniques in the THz metamaterial toolbox. The first research endeavor I will discuss is a metamaterial system that incorporates perhaps the simplest material; air. This metamaterial perfect absorber with a continuously tunable air dielectric layer allows for comprehensive exploration of metamaterial absorber systems, and demonstrates some unique phenomena owing to its lossless dielectric layer. Next I will introduce an applications oriented device; an electrically actuated broadband terahertz switch which transitions from a non-reflective, transmissive state to a fully absorptive state. It employs an all dielectric metamaterial layer to suppress reflections and trap light, and an electrically actuated phase change material, VO2 to transition between states. The final section of this dissertation will explore strong coupling effects between a metamaterial and the superconducting c-axis Josephson plasmon in the layered cuprate, La{2-x}SrxCuO4. Preliminary measurements are first presented then followed by high field THz measurements in which complex nonlinear behavior is observed.

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