UKMMN Metamaterial Picture Competition 2022

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Title: Metamaterials and Doughnut Beams in Technicolor

Image credit: Vittorio Aita

Here displayed, an experimental picture of a Radially Polarised Doughnut Beam repeated in a colourful pattern on top of another experimental photograph depicting the metamaterial used in my work. Plasmonic metamaterials show many interesting applications, thanks to the possibility to strongly modify their optical properties engineering their geometrical structure. In our case, we use a gold-nanorod-based sample, fabricated with a self-assembly technique that allows for an easy scalability of the fabrication process. This gives us an Epsilon-Near-Zero metamaterial, that provides uncommon optical responses when illuminated with a laser beam. To bring this a step forward, the properties of the laser beam are engineered as well, creating a so-called structured beam. In my work then, I bring together an artificial material and a structured laser beam to investigate the nature of their interactions. The wavelength-dependent optical properties of the sample are here rendered by the superposition of a coloured gradient on top of the sample photograph and, as a representation of the various spectral regions probed experimentally, the photo of the beam is also shown in different colours. Lastly, the experimental photograph of the sample is repeated on top of some of the doughnuts to give a representation of the beam propagating through the sample.

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