Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

George W. Hanson

Committee Members

George W. Hanson, Andrei Nemilentsau, Nikolai Kouklin, Chiu Law, Michael Weinert


2d Surfaces, Biased Plasma, Entanglement, Green Function, Photonic Topological Insulator, Plasmonics


At the interface of two different media such as metal and vacuum, light can couple to the electrons of the metal to form a wave that is bound to the interface. This wave is called a surface plasmon-plariton (SPP), generally characterized by intense fields that decay quickly away from the interface. Due to their unique properties, SPPs have found a broad range of applications in various areas of science, including light harvesting, medical science, energy transfer and imaging. In addition to the widely studied classical plasmonics, quantum plasmonics is also attracting considerable interest in the electromagnetics and quantum optics communities. In this thesis several new areas of investigation into quantum plasmonics is presented, focusing on entanglement mediated by SPPs in several different environments: 3D waveguides, 2D surfaces and on photonic topological insulators.

Entanglement is an experimentally verified property of nature where pairs of quantum systems are connected in some manner such that the quantum state of each system cannot be described independently. Generating, preserving, and controlling entanglement is necessary for many quantum computer implementations. It is highly desirable to control entanglement between two multi-level emitters such as quantum dots via a macroscopic, easily-adjusted external parameter. SPPs guided by the medium, as a coupling agent between quantum dots, are highly tunable and offer a promising way to achieve having control over a SPP mediated entanglement.

We first consider two quantum dots placed above 3D finite length waveguides. We have restricted our consideration to two waveguides types, i.e. a metal nanowire and a groove waveguide. Our main results in this work are to show that realistic finite-length nanowire and groove waveguides, with their associated discontinuities, play a crucial role in the engineering of highly entangled states. It is demonstrated that proper positioning of the emitters with respect to the waveguide edges can lead to a significant increase in entanglement compared to the case of the emitter coupled to an infinite plasmonic waveguide. Moreover, even for the infinite-length case, discontinuities in the waveguides do not always play a detrimental role, to be more specific, an increase in entanglement compared to the unperturbed waveguides can be achieved by introducing coupling slots (engineered perturbations) into the structure.

In addition to 3D environments, two dimensional (2D) materials are of intense interest due to their extraordinary capabilities to manipulate reflection and transmission characteristics, and beam-forming. Some notable examples of 2D layered crystals include graphene, black phosphorus (BP) and boron nitride. Graphene in particular has received considerable attention as a promising 2D surface for many applications relating to its integrability and electronic tune-ability. Black phosphorus is also a layered material that has recently been exfoliated into its multilayers, showing good electrical transport properties and promising optical charactristics.

Most of the previous studies of the electromagnetic response of 2D surfaces and metallic surface plasmons have considered isotropic structures with omnidirectional plasmonic surface wave propagation on the plane of these materials. Such an omnidirectional surface wave propagation does not allow for launching energy from electromagnetic source to a specific target on the surface, which is a desirable characteristic. However, an appropriate structured anisotropic surface can provide such a capability, such as an array of graphene strips. In addition, by tuning of the graphene doping it is possible to have a hyperbolic surface response. Working in this regime of surface conductivity, it is possible to launch SPPs along a specific direction, which is tunable via doping of the graphene. In this work, the electromagnetic response of anisotropic 2D surfaces has been investigated based on the analysis of the Green’s function for the surface plasmonic wave contribution of the Sommerfeld integral. The Sommerfeld integral form of the Green’s function can be time-consuming to evaluate, and here, it has been shown that for the surface waves, this integral can be evaluated efficiently as a mixture of continuous and discrete spectrums associated to the radiation of the source into the ambient space and energy coupled to the SPPs. Graphene strip arrays provide directive surface waves in the low THz regime, and unperturbed black phosphorus provides a similar response for higher frequency ranges.

All plasmonic devices are impacted by SPP diffraction at surface defects and discontinuities. In particular, for reciprocal materials a surface defect/discontinuity can both scatter a forward mode into a backward mode (and vice versa) and cause significant radiation/diffraction of the SPP. The presence of a backward state comes from time reversal (TR) symmetry; when broken, a backward state may be absent, and reflection at a discontinuity can be suppressed. As a result, surface energy becomes unidirectional and follows the contour of the interface. This type of system can be broadly classified as a photonic topological insulators (PTIs). The properties of PTIs are quantified by the Berry phase, Berry connection, and an invariant known as the Chern number. Also the physical meaning of the Berry phase, connection, and curvature, how these quantities arise in electromagnetic problems, and the significance of Chern numbers for unidirectional, scattering-immune surface wave propagation are discussed. The Chern numbers for the electromagnetic modes supported by a biased plasma have been calculated. It has been demonstrated that the modes supported by biased plasmas indeed possess non-trivial Chern numbers, which leads to the propagation of a topologically protected and unidirectional surface modes (energy) at the interface between the biased plasma and topologically trivial material.

The ability to guide the energy from one quantum dot to another one is a great advantage to achieve highly entangled states. Here, in this thesis for the first time, we investigated the unidirectional surface wave assisted entanglement in PTIs. We have investigated spontaneous and pumped entanglement of two level systems (quantum dots) in the vicinity of a photonic topological insulator interface, which supports a unidirectional SPP in the common bandgap of the bulk materials. We also have derived a master equation for quantum dots interactions in a general three-dimensional, nonreciprocal, inhomogeneous and lossy environment. The resulting entanglement is shown to be extremely robust to defects occurring in the material system.