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Collective Optical Properties of Plasmonic Nanoparticle Assemblies

Building new photonic materials and devices with nanoparticle building blocks is a central goal in nanoscience. Using metallic nanoparticles that support collective excitations of conduction band electrons – surface plasmons – requires a detailed understanding of how the optical properties of the individual nanoparticles change as they are assembled into complex structures, especially for chemically prepared nanoparticles because of their inherent size and shape polydispersity. To overcome this problem, the Link lab is applying and developing novel single particle spectroscopy techniques, which, when correlated with structural characterization of the same nanostructure and detailed electromagnetic modeling, have allowed us to characterize coupled plasmon modes in 1-dimensional nanoparticle chains, termed plasmonic polymers based on the strong dependence of their optical properties on the plasmonic repeat unit. Because of strong near-field coupling, these nanoparticle waveguides furthermore support subradiant plasmon modes that enable plasmon propagation distances comparable to nanowires with the additional benefit that no bending losses are introduced at sharp bends. Plasmonic waveguides with dimensions below the light diffraction limit are potential elements in opto-electronic circuits. Recent group efforts have focused on chiral assemblies of plasmonic nanoparticles for which single particle spectroscopy always measures only one enantiomer at a time even when ensemble preparation techniques yield racemic mixtures, and far-field coupling of aluminum nanorods to generate near-perfect red, green, and blue color pixels that can be electrically switched with liquid crystals for display and anti-counterfeiting applications.

Selected Publications:

    K. Smith, S. Link, W.-S. Chang Optical Characterization of Chiral Plasmonic Nanostructures. J. Photochemistry and Photobiology C: Photochemistry Review 32 , 40 (2017). link
    J. Olson, A. Manjavacas, T. Basu, D. Huang, A. E. Schlather, B. Zheng, N. J. Halas, P. Nordlander, and S. Link High Chromaticity Aluminum Plasmonic Pixels for Active Liquid Crystal Displays. ACS Nano 10(1), 1108 (2016) link
    D. Solis , A. Paul , J. Olson , L. S. Slaughter , P. Swanglap , W.-S. Chang , and S. Link, Turning the Corner: Efficient Energy Transfer in Bent Plasmonic Nanoparticle Chain Waveguides. Nano Lett. 13, 4779 (2013) link

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