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Title: Superfocusing, biosensing and modulation in plasmonics
Author: Lei, Dang-Yuan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2710 1899
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2011
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Plasmonics could bridge the gap between photonics and electronics at the nanoscale, by allowing the realization of surface-plasmon-based circuits and plasmonic chips in the future. To build up such devices, elementary components are required, such as a passive plasmonic lens to focus free-space light to nanometre area and an active plasmonic modulator or switch to control an optical response with an external signal (optical, thermal or electrical). This thesis partially focuses on designing novel passive and active plasmonic devices, with a specific emphasis on the understanding of the physical principles lying behind these nanoscale optical phenomena. Three passive plasmonic devices, designed by conformal transformation optics, are numerically studied, including nanocrescents, kissing and overlapping nanowire dimers. Contrary to conventional metal nanoparticles with just a few resonances, these devices with structural singularities are able to harvest light over a broadband spectrum and focus it into well-defined positions, with potential applications in high efficiency solar cells and nanowire-based photodetectors and nanolasers. Moreover, thermo-optical and electrooptical modulation of plasmon resonances are realized in metallic nanostructures integrated with either a temperature-controlled phase transition material (vanadium dioxide, VO2), or ferroelectric thin films. Taking advantage of the high sensitivity of particle plasmon resonances to the change of its surrounding environment, we develop a plasmon resonance nanospectroscopy technique to study the effects of sizes and defects in the metal-insulator phase transition of VO2 at the single-particle level, and even single-domain level. Finally, we propose and examine the use of two-dimensional metallic nanohole arrays as a refractive index sensing platform for future label-free biosensors with good surface sensitivity and high-throughput detection ability. The designed plasmonic devices have great potential implications for constructing nextgeneration optical computers and chip-scale biosensors. The developed plasmon resonance nanospectroscopy has the potential to probe the interfacial or domain boundary scattering in polycrystalline and epitaxial thin films.
Supervisor: Maier, Stefan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral