We study experimentally and theoretically nonlinear propagation of ultrashort long-range surface plasmon polaritons in gold strip waveguides. The nonlinear absorption of the plasmonic modes in the waveguides is measured with femtosecond pulses revealing a strong dependence of the third-order nonlinear susceptibility of the gold core on the pulse duration and layer thickness. A comprehensive model for the pulse duration dependence of the third-order nonlinear susceptibility is developed on the basis of the nonlinear Schrödinger equation for plasmonic mode propagation in the waveguides. The model accounts for the intrinsic delayed (noninstantaneous) nonlinearity of free electrons of gold as well as the thickness of the gold film and is experimentally verified. The obtained results are important for the development of active plasmonic and nanophotonic components.
- nonlinear optics
- ultrafast nonlinearity