Abstract

The ability to concentrate the electrical field into sub-wavelength volumes is a key benefit sought and, to a certain degree, found within the discipline of plasmonics. This ability is restricted only by the ohmic loss in noble metals and, recently, in the infrared region, metals are beginning to face a challenge from emerging alternative media: phononic (i.e., relying on surface phonon polaritons) and photonic (i.e., relying on high refractive index) all-dielectric structures, and highly doped semiconductors, all of them having smaller intrinsic loss than metals. In this Letter, we compare the degree of enhancement and its spectral selectivity for different media and confirm that, while one can obtain sharper resonant features with all-dielectric structures, the magnitude of the field enhancement is invariably higher with metals such as gold and copper, primarily due to a higher density of electrons. On the whole, depending on the application, metals and dielectrics have their own unique advantages.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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