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Application Gallery

Plasmonics is a field of study that explores the interaction of light waves and metallic surfaces, and the resulting density waves of electrons that can be generated from this interaction. The resulting electron density wave that propagates along the surface of the metal is referred to as a surface plasmon polariton, or a surface plasmon. Owing to the strong frequency dependence of the complex permittivity of the metal, plasmons themselves exhibit strong variations with frequency, and this frequency dependence results in surface plasmon resonances.


While plasmon propagation along metals is very lossy, the plasmon is tightly confined to the metal. This tight confinement is being studied for application to compact signal routing over very short distances in highly integrated planar lightwave circuits. This confinement can also lead to associated electromagnetic field enhancement which is of use in bio/chemical sensing, decay rate engineering, and light absorption for photovoltaics.

Simulating plasmonic devices


FDTD is a high performance optical solver that can capture the light interaction with wavelength-scale 3D metal geometries. For plasmonic waveguides, MODE can be used to calculate the physical properties of waveguide modes such as the effective index, loss and dispersion. The field of plasmonics is very broad with numerous applications, and the simulation methodology can be highly dependent on the device operation. This can often lead to mistakes in the simulation set up and in the interpretation of the results. For this reason, we will address the simulation methodology for different types of devices separately.


Local near field enhancement of an array of nanoholes on a thin gold film.



Negative index metamaterials designed with materials that support surface plasmon resonances

Emission and absorption properties of metallic optical antennas

Increased efficiency of surface plasmon enhanced thin film silicon solar cells

Electromagnetic field enhancement engineering

Frequency analysis of resonant modes for dispersive metal nanoparticles and nanoparticle systems

Decay rate engineering with metallic nanoparticles

Resonant transmission and subwavelength focusing through patterned metallic thin films including plasmonic lenses and bullseye apertures

Propagation along longitudinally-varying surface plasmon waveguides and metal-insulator-metal waveguides

Optical properties of metallic metamaterials

Mode profiles, effective index, propagation constant, propagation loss, dispersion, bending loss, group velocity, group dispersion of surface plasmon waveguides and metal-insulator-metal waveguides

Lumerical’s conformal mesh technology can provide sub-mesh cell modeling accuracy important in photonic crystal modeling

Multi-coefficient materials (MCMs) can accurately model dispersive materials across wide wavelength ranges

Built-in parameter sweep and optimization algorithms make it easy to analyze and optimize parameterized designs

Application examples

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