Abstract

Geometric diodes represent a relatively new class of diodes used in rectennas that rely on the asymmetry of a conducting thin film. Here, we numerically investigate a plasmonic analogue of geometric diodes to realize nanoscale optical asymmetric transmission. The device operates based on spatial symmetry breaking that relies on a unique property of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs), namely, adiabatic nanofocusing. We show that the structure can realize on-chip asymmetric electromagnetic transmission with a total dimension of ${\sim} {{2}}\;{{\unicode{x00B5}{\rm m}}} \times {{6}}\;{{\unicode{x00B5}{\rm m}}}$. We demonstrate a signal contrast of 0.7 and an asymmetric optical transmission ratio of 4.77 dB. We investigate the origin of the asymmetric transmission and show that it is due mainly to asymmetric out-coupling of SPPs to far-field photons. We highlight the role of evanescent field coupling of SPPs in undermining the asymmetric transmission efficiency and show that by adjusting the plasmonic waveguide dimensions, a signal contrast of 0.94 and an asymmetric optical transmission ratio of 5.18 dB can be obtained. Our work presents a new paradigm for on-chip nanoscale asymmetric optical transmission utilizing the unique properties of SPPs.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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