A novel approach to making a material with negative index of refraction in the infrared frequency band is described. Materials with negative dielectric permittivity ε are utilized in this approach. Those could be either plasmonic (metals) or polaritonic (semiconductors) in nature. A sub-wavelength plasmonic crystal (SPC), with the period much smaller than the wavelength of light, consisting of nearly-touching metallic cylinders is shown to support waves with negative group velocity. The usage of such waves for sub-wavelength resolution imaging is demonstrated in a numerical double-slit experiment. Another application of the negative-epsilon materials is laser-driven near field nanolithography. Any plasmonic or polaritonic material with nega- tive ε =–εd sandwiched between dielectric layers with εd > 0 can be used to significantly decrease the feature size. It is shown that a thin slab of SiC is capable of focusing the mid- IR radiation of a CO2 laser to several hundred nanometers, thus paving the way for a new nano-lithographic technique: Phonon Enhanced Near Field Lithography in Infrared (PENFIL). Although an essentially near-field effect, this resolution enhancement can be quantified using far-field measurements. Numerical simulations supporting such experiments are presented.
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Useful input from German Geraskin is gratefully acknowledged. This work was supported by NSF, DOE, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
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Shvets, G., Urzhumov, Y.A. Polariton-enhanced near field lithography and imaging with infrared light. MRS Online Proceedings Library 820, 243–254 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-820-R1.2