Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jiangfeng Zhou, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Myung K. Kim, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Denis Karaiskaj, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Zhimin Shi, Ph.D.


Bi-stability, Harmonics, Optical Activity, Negative refraction


Metamaterials are artificial structures, which periodically arranged to exhibit fascinating electromagnetic properties, not existing in nature. A great deal of research in the field of metamaterial was conducted in a linear regime, where the electromagnetic responses are independent of the external electric or magnetic fields. Unfortunately, in linear regime the desired properties of metamaterials have only been achieved within a narrow bandwidth, around a fixed frequency. Therefore, nonlinearity is introduced into metamaterials by merging meta-atoms with well-known nonlinear materials. Nonlinear metamaterials are exploited in this dissertation to introduce and develop applications in microwave frequency with broadband responses. The nonlinearity was achieved via embedding varactor diode on to split ring resonator (SRR) design, which demonstrates tunability in resonance frequency and phase of the transmission signal. SRR exhibits power and frequency dependent broadband tunability and it is realized for external electro-magnetic signals. More importantly, the nonlinear SRR shows bi-stability with distinct transmission levels, where the transition between bi-states is controlled by the impulses of pump signal and it can be used as a switching device in microwave regime. In order to increase its functionality in other frequencies, a new design, double split ring resonator (DSRR) is introduced with two rings, which has two distinct resonance frequencies. The double split ring resonator also demonstrate similar behavior as the SRR but it is broadband. Furthermore, by designing the structure such that the inner ring has a frequency twice as outer ring resonance frequency; we observed the enhancement of harmonic generation. We exhibit enhancement in second harmonic generation and methods that can use to increase the harmonic signal power. Arranging the unit cells in an array and particular orientation further increases the harmonic power. In addition, we show that using a back plate to create a cavity will help to increase harmonic power. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that applying an external DC voltage can be used to tune resonance frequency as well as phase of the signal. Exploring these ideas in THz frequency regime is also important. So simulation results were obtained with advanced designs to achieve non-linearity in terahertz frequency regime to realize tunability, hysteresis and bi-stable states.

A negative refractive index can be realized in metamaterials consisting of strong magnetic and electric resonators with responses at the same frequency band. However, high loss and narrow bandwidth resulting from strong resonances have impeded negative index optical components and devices from reaching expected functionalities (e.g. perfect lens). Here, we demonstrate experimentally and numerically that a 2D helical chiral metamaterial exhibits broadband negative refractive index with extremely low loss. With Drude-like dispersion, its permittivity leads to zero-index, and broadband chirality further brings the index to negative values for left-handed circularly polarized light in the entire range below the plasma frequency. Non-resonant architecture results in very low loss (<2% per layer) and an extremely high Figure-of-merit (>90).

Tunable THz metamaterials has shown great potential to solve the material challenge due to the so-called “THz gap”. However, the tunable mechanism of current designs relies on using semiconductors insertions, which inevitably results in high Ohmic loss, and thereby significantly degrades the performance of metamaterials. In this work, we demonstrate a novel tunable mechanism based on polymeric microactuators. Our metamaterials are fabricated on the surface of patterned pillar array of flexible polymers embedded with magnetic nanoparticles. The transmission spectrum of the metamaterial can be tuned as the pillars are mechanically deformed though applied magnetic field. We observed and measured several type of deformation including bending, twisting and compressing when the applied magnetic field is polarized along different direction with respected to the axis of the magnetic particles. Compared to previous semiconductor based tunable mechanism, our structure has shown much lower loss. We demonstrate using simulations and experimentally that with an external magnetic field, we can achieve phase modulation using magnetic polymeric micro-actuators.