Color generation and enhancement using large-scale compatible metamaterial design architectures

Date
2022-01
Advisor
Özbay, Ekmel
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Bilkent University
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English
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Thesis
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Abstract

Metamaterials are a type of artificial matt that can impose exotic functionalities beyond natural materials. These specifically designed sub-wavelength structures acquire these functionalities from their collective geometric arrangement rather than their individual single-unit properties. As a result, metamaterials have shown promising applications, including negative refraction, artificial magnetism, asymmetric transmission, lasing, and cloak of invisibility. Among all these applications, the concept of color generation and enhancement using metamaterial designs have attracted much attention in recent years.
We can achieve color generation from two primary sources: i) filtering white light, and ii) generating light from emitting materials such as quantum dots. In color generation using white light, a metamaterial design reflects or transmits a narrow portion of the incident spectrum. Thus, the design acts as a color filter. However, the source is already a narrowband color light in the second category. Thus metamaterials merely amplify the color intensity rather than manipulate its spectral response.
In this thesis, metamaterial structures are designed, fabricated, and characterized in both categories mentioned above; The content of this thesis consists of two parts; i) In the first part, we generated additive red-green-blue (RGB) colors in reflectance mode with near-unity amplitude. For this purpose, we designed a multilayer structure made of metal-insulator-metal-semiconductor-insulator (MIMSI) stacks to achieve >0.9 reflection peaks with full-width-at-half-maximum (FWHM) values <0.3λpeak. The proposed design also shows near-zero reflection in off-resonance spectral ranges, which, in turn, leads to high color purity. Finally, we fabricated the optimized designs and verified the simulation and theoretical results with characterization findings. This work demonstrates the potential of multilayer tandem cavity designs in realizing lithography-free large-scale compatible functional optical coatings. ii) In the second part, we utilized a large-scale compatible plasmonic nanocavity design platform to achieve almost an order of magnitude photoluminescence enhancement from light-emitting quantum dots. The proposed design is multi-sized/multi-spacing gold (Au) nano units that are uniformly wrapped with thin aluminum oxide (Al2O3) layer as a foreign host to form a metal-insulator-semiconductor (MIS) cavity, as we coated them with semiconductor quantum dots (QDs). Our numerical and experimental data demonstrate that, in an optimal insulator layer thickness, the simultaneous formation of broadband Fabry-Perot (FP) resonances and plasmonic hot spots leads to enhanced light absorption within the QD unit. This improvement in absorption response leads to the PL enhancement of QDs. This work demonstrates the potential and effectiveness of a host comprised of random plasmonic nanocavities in the realization of lithography-free efficient emitters. Overall, this thesis presents an alternative perspective on applying large-scale compatible metamaterials in color generation. Furthermore, the proposed designs and routes can be extended toward other functional photoelectronic designs, where high performances can be acquired in scaleable architectures.

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Keywords
Optical materials, Metamaterials, Color filter, Light emission, Quantum dot, Plasmonics, scalable photonics
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Published Version (Please cite this version)