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Title: Giving metamaterials a hand
Author: Barr, Lauren
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 6258
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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The focus of this thesis is the interaction of electromagnetic fields with chiral structures in the microwave regime. Through this study, which focuses on three regimes of electromagnetic interactions, I aim to develop a deeper understanding of the consequences and manifestations of chiral interactions The structures are on the order of, or smaller than, the wavelength of the probing radiation. As the structures are chiral, they have broken inversion symmetry, and exist in two states where one is the mirror image of the other. The results in this thesis can have impacts on future optical communications technologies and methods of sensing biological molecules. To begin with, the manipulation of the circular polarisation of a propagating beam by bilayer chiral metasurfaces is investigated. The metasurfaces consist of two layers of stacked crosses with a twist between top and bottom layers, forming chiral metamolecules. A broad frequency region of dispersionless polarisation rotation appears between two resonances, due to alignment between electric and magnetic dipoles. The dependence of this effect on the layer separation is studied for two similar metasurfaces. Evanescent chiral electromagnetic fields are the focus of the next chapter. An array of chiral antennas produces chiral near-fields at their resonant frequency. Aligned and subwavelength helices placed within this field interact differently depending on the handedness of the field with respect to the handedness of the helices. This difference in interaction strength is measured for the helices and an effective medium model where multipolar interactions are forbidden. Comparison of these two systems leads to the conclusion that the contribution to a chiral interaction from multipolar modes is minimal, in contrast to previous publications. The third study concentrates on the electromagnetic wave bound to an "infinitely long" metal helix. The helix has infinite-fold screw symmetry, and this leads to interesting features in the energy-dispersion of the waves it supports. The broad frequency range of high, tunable, dispersionless index is interpreted using a geometrical approach, and the factors that limit the bandwidth explained. A modified geometry is suggested for increased bandwidth. The final part of the thesis is dedicated to future work, based on the results presented thus far. Three suggestions for future study are presented, including chiroptical signals from higher-order chiral arrangements, the effect of reflecting surfaces next to chiral objects and the possible use of orbital angular momentum for chiroptical measurements.
Supervisor: Hendry, Euan ; Hibbins, Alastair P. Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Metamaterials ; Chirality ; Electromagnetism