Plasmonic hybrid nanoconstructs for subwavelength manipulation of optical properties

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Zhang, Shuaidi
Tsukruk, Vladimir V.
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Plasmonic nanostructures give rise to intriguing optical phenomena such as deep-subwavelength light focusing, precisely tunable scattering/absorption, and super-linearity enhancement. These properties could be harnessed by combining plasmonic components with functional organics into plasmonic hybrid nanoconstructs for practical applications, such as molecular sensing, advanced displays, and photonic logic processing. However, to fully realize the potential of these plasmonic hybrid nanoconstructs, critical questions on fundamental aspects of organic-inorganic assembly and their coupling behavior need to be addressed. This work seeks to understand some of these aspects and fill knowledge gaps regarding the efficient microfabrication and utilization of hybrid plasmonic nanoconstructs. Specifically, an advanced nanoscale characterization method based on scanning probe microscopy and secondary ion mass-spectrometry is developed to monitor the morphological and compositional changes on the surface of plasmonic nanocrystal as ligand exchange reactions proceeds, leading to new discoveries on reaction dynamics. Detailed characterization of nanoparticle distribution in organic matrices and corresponding electrodynamic modeling have also been combined to aid the rational design of a cellulose nanofiber-gold nanorod hybrid surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy based molecular sensing platform that outperforms traditional design by two orders of magnitude. In addition, new discoveries have been made regarding the optical response of electrochromic polymer infused plasmonic nanohole arrays upon complex permittivity modulation: the forward and backward scattering shows drastically different response whose origin is explained by advanced electrodynamic simulation. Finally, using high resolution hyperspectral mapping and high-fidelity sub-nm resolution electrodynamic simulation, we furthered the understanding of coupling between plasmonic nanocrystals and photonic microcavities and proposed a new method that uses the near-field coupling between plasmonic nanoparticle antennas to regulate the optical output of a plasmonic-photonic hybrid cavity, which could lead to extremely compact designs for nanolasers.
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