Abstract

We propose deep-subwavelength optical waveguides based on metal–dielectric multilayer indefinite metamaterials with ultrahigh effective refractive indices. Waveguide modes with different mode orders are systematically analyzed with numerical simulations based on both metal–dielectric multilayer structures and the effective medium approach. The dependences of waveguide mode indices, propagation lengths, and mode areas on different mode orders, free-space wavelengths, and sizes of waveguide cross sections are studied. Furthermore, waveguide modes are also illustrated with iso-frequency contours in the wave vector space in order to investigate the mechanism of waveguide mode cutoff for high-order modes. The deep-subwavelength optical waveguide with a size smaller than λ0/50 and a mode area in the order of 104λ02 is realized, and an ultrahigh effective refractive index up to 62.0 is achieved at the telecommunication wavelength. This new type of metamaterial optical waveguide opens up opportunities for various applications in enhanced light–matter interactions.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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