Contrary to traditional optical elements, plasmonic antennas made from nanostructured metals permit the localization of electromagnetic fields on length scales much smaller than the wavelength of light. This results in huge amplitudes for the electromagnetic field close to the antenna being conducive for the observation of nonlinear effects already at moderate pump powers. Thus, these antennas exhibit a promising potential to achieve optical frequency conversion and all-optical control of light at the nano-scale. This opens unprecedented opportunities for ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy, sensing devices, on-chip optical frequency conversion, nonlinear optical metamaterials, and novel photon sources. Here, we review some of the recent advances in exploiting the potential of plasmonic antennas to realize robust nonlinear applications.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2014.05.009