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Creators/Authors contains: "Dionne, Jennifer A."

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  1. Abstract

    Time reversal symmetry stands as a fundamental restriction on the vast majority of optical systems and devices. The reciprocal nature of Maxwell’s equations in linear, time-invariant media adds complexity and scale to photonic diodes, isolators, circulators and also sets fundamental efficiency limits on optical energy conversion. Though many theoretical proposals and low frequency demonstrations of nonreciprocity exist, Faraday rotation remains the only known nonreciprocal mechanism that persists down to the atomic scale. Here, we present photon-spin-polarized stimulated Raman scattering as a new nonreciprocal optical phenomenon which has, in principle, no lower size limit. Exploiting this process, we numerically demonstrate nanoscale nonreciprocal transmission of free-space beams at near-infrared frequencies with a 250 nm thick silicon metasurface as well as a fully-subwavelength plasmonic gap nanoantenna. In revealing all-optical spin-splitting, our results provide a foundation for compact nonreciprocal communication and computing technologies, from nanoscale optical isolators and full-duplex nanoantennas to topologically-protected networks.

  2. Plasmon-coupled circular dichroism has emerged as a promising approach for ultrasensitive detection of biomolecular conformations through coupling between molecular chirality and surface plasmons. Chiral nanoparticle assemblies without chiral molecules present also have large optical activities. We apply single-particle circular differential scattering spectroscopy coupled with electron imaging and simulations to identify both structural chirality of plasmonic aggregates and plasmon-coupled circular dichroism induced by chiral proteins. We establish that both chiral aggregates and just a few proteins in interparticle gaps of achiral assemblies are responsible for the ensemble signal, but single nanoparticles do not contribute. We furthermore find that the protein plays two roles: It transfers chirality to both chiral and achiral plasmonic substrates, and it is also responsible for the chiral three-dimensional assembly of nanorods. Understanding these underlying factors paves the way toward sensing the chirality of single biomolecules.