Ultrafast active control of UV light with aluminum may become an efficient way for high-speed active UV devices. However, the nonlinear optical response of aluminum in the UV region is extremely small, which impedes the realization of the promising modulation depth on ultrafast control. Here, by using the surface plasmon resonance effect, we have achieved a 55-times enhancement in the modulation depth, as well as a short switching time of several picoseconds. Further investigation showed that such an enhancement mainly resulted from a two-order-of-magnitude boost in the response of the signal light to the lattice thermal variation at the plasmonic resonance condition. This improvement in the probing sensitivity could serve as an effective approach to resolve the dynamics of lattice vibrations in metals.
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