Indexed on: 09 Feb '15Published on: 09 Feb '15Published in: Physics - Optics
We offer a model to describe the intrinsic nonlinear response of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs). Relation of the complex nonlinear coefficient of SPPs to the third-order nonlinear susceptibility of the metal is provided. As reported in a recent study, gold is highly lossy and simultaneously highly nonlinear due to interband absorption and interband thermo-modulation at a wavelength shorter than 700 nm. The effect of the high loss of the metal on the SPP nonlinear propagation is taken into account in our model. With the model we show difference in sign of real and imaginary parts between the nonlinear propagation coefficient and the nonlinear susceptibility of component material for the first time to our knowledge. Our model could have practical importance in studying plasmonic devices utilizing the nonlinear phase modulation and the nonlinear absorption of SPPs. For example, it allows one to extract the complex nonlinear susceptibility of gold through a measurement of SPP nonlinear propagation at the visible range.