Tailoring chiro-optical effects by helical nanowire arrangement†
In this work, we experimentally investigate the chiro-optical properties of 3D metallic helical systems at optical frequencies. Both single and triple-nanowire geometries have been studied. In particular, we found that in single-helical nanostructures, the enhancement of chiro-optical effects achievable by geometrical design is limited, especially with respect to the operation wavelength and the circular polarization conversion purity. Conversely, in the triple-helical nanowire configuration, the dominant interaction is the coupling among the intertwined coaxial helices which is driven by a symmetric spatial arrangement. Consequently, a general improvement in the g-factor, extinction ratio and signal-to-noise-ratio is achieved in a broad spectral range. Moreover, while in single-helical nanowires a mixed linear and circular birefringence results in an optical activity strongly dependent on the sample orientation and wavelength, in the triple-helical nanowire configuration, the obtained purely circular birefringence leads to a large optical activity up to 8°, independent of the sample angle, and extending in a broad band of 500 nm in the visible range. These results demonstrate a strong correlation between the configurational internal interactions and the chiral feature designation, which can be effectively exploited for nanoscale chiral device engineering.