A host of contemporary materials provide novel routes to manipulate and control light, broadly defined as spanning from microwave through visible wavelengths. Conversely, light can also be used to manipulate the properties of materials through resonant and non-resonant interactions enabling, as examples, the detection, modulation, and nonlinear manipulation of light. Moreover, dynamic and nonlinear light-matter interactions encode microscopic and mesoscopic properties not evident in linear response. The terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 0.1 – 20 THz) is particularly fertile from fundamental and applied perspectives, with plasmonics, metamaterials, and quantum materials (and combinations thereof) being actively investigated. I will present examples from our research in this area spanning from the “simple” to complex. This includes nonlinear and tunable plasmonic disks and mushrooms, metamaterial-quantum material coupling in insulator-to-metal transition compounds and superconductors and, in a putative excitonic insulator, terahertz parametric amplification arising from coherent order parameter dynamics.
Richard Averitt received his PhD degree in Applied Physics from Rice University in 1998 for work on the synthesis and optical characterization of gold nanoshells. Following this, he was a Los Alamos National Laboratory Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow where his work focused on time resolved spectroscopy of correlated electron materials and metamaterials. In 2001, Richard became a member of the technical staff at Los Alamos, and in 2005 a member of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies co-located at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. In 2007, Richard joined Boston University as a faculty member in the Department of Physics and the Boston University Photonics Center. Since 2014, Richard has been with the Department of Physics at UC San Diego. Richard’s current research is primarily directed towards characterizing, creating, and controlling the optical and electronic properties of metamaterials, plasmonic materials, and quantum materials using ultrafast optical spectroscopy spanning from terahertz to visible frequencies.