Miniaturization of optical components for on-chip integration of electronic and photonic functionalities is one of the new frontiers with the promise of enabling a next generation of integrated optoelectronic circuits. A particularly fascinating prospect is the achievement of an optical analogue of the electronic transistor, which forms the building block of our computers. Our approach involves a nanoscale version of a radiowave antenna, the plasmonic nanoantenna. Plasmonic antennas are designed to overcome the diffraction limit of light and to focus light into a nanometer-sized antenna 'feed' gap.
In our first studies supported by EPSRC we have proposed a variety of devices exploiting hybrid interactions of a nanoantenna with an active substrate. Here, we aim to launch a full-scale investigation of such hybrid antenna devices including various geometries and metal oxide substrates, where the plasmonic antenna will be exploited as a nanoscale sensitizer for the active substrate. Integration of a nanoantenna switches with a nanoelectronic transistor will yield a new class of optoelectronic devices: the nanoantenna MOSFET.
The proposed optically and electrically controlled nanoantenna devices are of enormous interest as a bridge for on-chip control of electrical and optical information. In addition, ultrafast active control of local fields and antenna radiation patterns will enable new applications in nonlinear optics, Raman sensors, and optical quantum information technology.