A spaser is a nanoplasmonic counterpart of a laser, with photons replaced by surface plasmon polaritons and a resonant cavity replaced by a metallic nanostructure supporting localized plasmonic modes. By combining analytical results and first-principle numerical simulations, we provide a comprehensive study of the ultrafast dynamics of a spaser. Due to its highly-nonlinear nature, the spaser is characterized by a large number of interacting degrees of freedom, which sustain a rich manifold of different phases we discover, describe and analyze here. In the regime of strong interaction, the system manifests an irreversible ergodic evolution towards the configuration where energy is equally shared among all the available degrees of freedom. Under this condition, the spaser generates ultrafast vortex-like lasing modes that are spinning on the femtosecond scale and whose direction of rotation is dictated by quantum noise. In this regime, the spaser acquires the character of a nanoparticle with an effective spin. This opens up a range of interesting possibilities for achieving unidirectional emission from a symmetric nanostructure, stimulating a broad range of applications for nanoplasmonic lasers as unidirectional couplers and random information sources.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics