Plasmonic Sources and Interaction - Project 05

Project Leader: Joachim Krenn

Plasmons modes in metal nanostructures bridge the scales of optical and electronic processes by generating highly confined and resonantly enhanced local fields. Plasmonics is accordingly a topic of high current interest for the nanoscale concentration of light, the emission control of elementary emitters, research in optical metamaterials and applications in, e.g., sensor devices or photovoltaics. In this project we explore the properties of complex plasmonic nanostructures, and their combination with elementary emitters to build hybrid nanophotonic systems.

We will look into metal nanoparticles and –wires with well-defined plasmonic resonance, mode volume and quality, and field pattern. These properties shall be tailored by nanoscale lithographic fabrication for, on one hand, the spectrally and polarization-selective coupling to propagating far-field light. On the other hand, the plasmonic fields and their mode densities will be tailored for optical near-field coupling, for the coupling to (single) elementary emitters such as quantum dots or color centers. We will include so-called dark modes, i.e., plasmon modes with zero net dipole moment which are high quality modes as they are not radiation damped. On such a platform the nanostructure-induced modifications of emitter lifetimes, their emission intensities and radiation patterns can be probed with unprecedented precision.

This part of the work program prepares the ground for tackling, first, the important question of loss in plasmonic structures and, second, photodetection based on plasmonically enhanced quantum dots. Overcoming loss addresses the major roadblock in the application of plasmonic components which are limited due to the rather low mode quality and propagation lengths. Based on a profound understanding of plasmon/emitter interaction we will explore plasmon amplification by stimulated emission and evaluate the possibility of plasmon-based lasing. In addition, we will aim at the application of plasmonically enhanced quantum dots for highly miniaturized photodetection, ultimately mediated by a single quantum dot.

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