Plasmonic Enhancement

Emitters of light such as molecules and semiconductor quantum dots have relatively long emission lifetimes (~10 ns) and non-directional emission. Unfortunately, these intrinsic optical properties are not well suited to the demands of nanophotonic devices such as ultrafast LEDs, nanoscale lasers, and single photon sources. At CMIP we have developed a platform based on metal nanostructures that allows us to dramatically enhance the radiative properties of emitters. The approach involves trapping and squeezing light into nanometer sized gaps between a metal nanocube and a metal surface, a structure we call a nanopatch antenna. Molecules placed in this gap interact with the intensified light, causing them to emit light more than 1000 times faster, with higher efficiency, and in the desired direction. Details about the work can be found in G. M. Akselrod et al., Nature Photonics (2014).