Light-matter interactions can be strongly modified by the surrounding environment. Here, we report on the first experimental observation of molecular spontaneous emission inside a highly non-local metamaterial based on a plasmonic nanorod assembly. We show that the emission process is dominated not only by the topology of its local effective medium dispersion, but also by the non-local response of the composite, so that metamaterials with different geometric parameters but the same local effective medium properties exhibit different Purcell factors. A record-high enhancement of a decay rate is observed, in agreement with the developed quantitative description of the Purcell effect in a non-local medium. An engineered material non-locality introduces an additional degree of freedom into quantum electrodynamics, enabling new applications in quantum information processing, photochemistry, imaging and sensing with macroscopic composites.
- Composite electromagnetic materials
- Non-local optical properties
- Plasmonic metamaterials
- Quantum electrodynamics
- Spontaneous emission