On loss compensation, amplification and lasing in metallic metamaterials

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2019-01-06
Authors
Droulias, Sotiris
Koschny, Thomas
Kafesaki, Maria
Soukoulis, Costas
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Physics and Astronomy
Physics and astronomy are basic natural sciences which attempt to describe and provide an understanding of both our world and our universe. Physics serves as the underpinning of many different disciplines including the other natural sciences and technological areas.
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Abstract

The design of metamaterials, which are artificial materials that can offer unique electromagnetic properties, is based on the excitation of strong resonant modes. Unfortunately, material absorption—mainly due to their metallic parts—can damp their resonances and hinder their operation. Incorporating a gain material can balance these losses, but this must be performed properly, as a reduced or even eliminated absorption does not guarantee loss compensation. Here we examine the possible regimes of interaction of a gain material with a passive metamaterial and show that background amplification and loss compensation are two extreme opposites, both of which can lead to lasing.

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