Linear and nonlinear propagation of localised plasmon in metallic nanostructures

Tan, Shiaw Juen (2011) Linear and nonlinear propagation of localised plasmon in metallic nanostructures. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

A major challenge in modern photonics and nano-optics is the diffraction limit of light which does not allow field localisation into regions with dimensions smaller than half the wavelength. Localisation of light into nanoscale regions (beyond its diffraction limit) has applications ranging from the design of optical sensors and measurement techniques with resolutions as high as a few nanometres, to the effective delivery of optical energy into targeted nanoscale regions such as quantum dots, nano-electronic and nano-optical devices. This field has become a major research direction over the last decade. The use of strongly localised surface plasmons in metallic nanostructures is one of the most promising approaches to overcome this problem. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to investigate the linear and non-linear propagation of surface plasmons in metallic nanostructures. This thesis will focus on two main areas of plasmonic research –– plasmon nanofocusing and plasmon nanoguiding.

Plasmon nanofocusing – The main aim of plasmon nanofocusing research is to focus plasmon energy into nanoscale regions using metallic nanostructures and at the same time achieve strong local field enhancement. Various structures for nanofocusing purposes have been proposed and analysed such as sharp metal wedges, tapered metal films on dielectric substrates, tapered metal rods, and dielectric V-grooves in metals. However, a number of important practical issues related to nanofocusing in these structures still remain unclear. Therefore, one of the main aims of this thesis is to address two of the most important of issues which are the coupling efficiency and heating effects of surface plasmons in metallic nanostructures. The method of analysis developed throughout this thesis is a general treatment that can be applied to a diversity of nanofocusing structures, with results shown here for the specific case of sharp metal wedges. Based on the geometrical optics approximation, it is demonstrated that the coupling efficiency from plasmons generated with a metal grating into the nanofocused symmetric or quasi-symmetric modes may vary between ~50% to ~100% depending on the structural parameters. Optimal conditions for nanofocusing with the view to minimise coupling and dissipative losses are also determined and discussed. It is shown that the temperature near the tip of a metal wedge heated by nanosecond plasmonic pulses can increase by several hundred degrees Celsius. This temperature increase is expected to lead to nonlinear effects, self-influence of the focused plasmon, and ultimately self-destruction of the metal tip. This thesis also investigates a different type of nanofocusing structure which consists of a tapered high-index dielectric layer resting on a metal surface. It is shown that the nanofocusing mechanism that occurs in this structure is somewhat different from other structures that have been considered thus far. For example, the surface plasmon experiences significant backreflection and mode transformation at a cut-off thickness. In addition, the reflected plasmon shows negative refraction properties that have not been observed in other nanofocusing structures considered to date.

Plasmon nanoguiding – Guiding surface plasmons using metallic nanostructures is important for the development of highly integrated optical components and circuits which are expected to have a superior performance compared to their electronicbased counterparts. A number of different plasmonic waveguides have been considered over the last decade including the recently considered gap and trench plasmon waveguides. The gap and trench plasmon waveguides have proven to be difficult to fabricate. Therefore, this thesis will propose and analyse four different modified gap and trench plasmon waveguides that are expected to be easier to fabricate, and at the same time acquire improved propagation characteristics of the guided mode. In particular, it is demonstrated that the guided modes are significantly screened by the extended metal at the bottom of the structure. This is important for the design of highly integrated optics as it provides the opportunity to place two waveguides close together without significant cross-talk. This thesis also investigates the use of plasmonic nanowires to construct a Fabry-Pérot resonator/interferometer. It is shown that the resonance effect can be achieved with the appropriate resonator length and gap width. Typical quality factors of the Fabry- Pérot cavity are determined and explained in terms of radiative and dissipative losses. The possibility of using a nanowire resonator for the design of plasmonic filters with close to ~100% transmission is also demonstrated.

It is expected that the results obtained in this thesis will play a vital role in the development of high resolution near field microscopy and spectroscopy, new measurement techniques and devices for single molecule detection, highly integrated optical devices, and nanobiotechnology devices for diagnostics of living cells.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 52635
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Jaatinen, Esa & Barry, John
Keywords: near field optics, nano-optics, local field enhancement, plasmonics, integrated optics, surface plasmons, nanofocusing, plasmon coupling, plasmonic waveguides, gap plasmon, nanoscale heating, Fabry-Pérot resonator, plasmonic nanowire, plasmonic filters
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Physics
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 20 Jul 2012 05:59
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2012 05:59

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