Abstract

We theoretically demonstrate that, for a given diameter of the core-pumped metal–dielectric nanowire, there is an optimum thickness of the metallic cladding that provides the maximum propagation length of the lowest-order surface plasmon polariton (SPP) modes. If the nanowire is fabricated with the optimum cladding thickness, the lowest pumping power is required to fully compensate for the SPP propagation losses. We also show that a strong confinement of SPPs within the nanowire can be achieved, but at the expense of either high optical gains or large nanowire diameters. For example, a gain of 565cm1 would suffice to make up for the decay of SPPs in a 250-nm-thick silver–GaAs nanowire; the confinement of optical power within such nanowires exceeds 90%, which makes them ideal interconnects for nanophotonic circuitry.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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