Plasmonics on the slope of enlightenment: the role of transition metal nitrides
The key problem currently faced by plasmonics is related to material limitations. After almost two decades of extreme excitement and research largely based on the use of noble metals, scientists have come to a consensus on the importance of exploring alternative plasmonic materials to address application-specific challenges to enable the development of new functional devices. Such a change in motivation will undoubtedly lead to significant advancements in plasmonics technology transfer and could have a revolutionary impact on nanophotonic technologies in general. Here, we report on one of the approaches that, together with other new material platforms, mark an insightful technology-driven era for plasmonics. Our study focuses on transition metal nitrides as refractory plasmonic materials that exhibit appealing optical properties in the visible and near infrared regions, along with high temperature durability. We take heat-assisted magnetic recording as a case study for plasmonic technology and show that a titanium nitride antenna satisfies the requirements for an optically efficient, durable near field transducer paving the way to the next-generation data recording systems.