Recent demonstrations of a negative refractive index in the optical range for metamaterials made of appropriate nanostructured metallic surfaces open the way for the investigation of new and astounding optical phenomena. A major problem to be addressed for the practical application of such metamaterials is dissipative loss due to the intrinsic absorption of the metals involved. So far the main emphasis in the studies of metal nanostructures has been placed on linear effects. Linear and nonlinear optical wave propagation in metamaterials were considered in [1]. In order to overcome dissipative losses, the concept of providing an optical-gain mechanism in a nonlinear metamaterial has caught much attention. Second harmonic generation and optical parametric amplification in negative index metamaterials were studied in [2]. It was shown that absorption can be compensated by backward optical parametric amplification [2]. Hence a gain-supported metamaterial can possibly be achieved by the optical excitation of localized surface plasmons in metal nanoparticles in combination with a dielectric medium exhibiting optical nonlinearity. However, no experimental approach towards the realization of a nonlinear metamaterial was published until now.

© 2007 IEEE

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