Ongoing progress in the innovative engineering of plasmonic structures has revealed a new kind of nanometer scale optoelectronic devices which has high resolution optical sensing. However, until recently there unfortunately has been a lack of tools for measuring nanometer scale behaviour in plasmonic structures. This is needed to properly understand device performance and to thereafter conform to known theoretical models.
An Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) image of a plasmonic semiconductor microparticles has as stated by Professor William P. King, an Abel Bliss Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) at University of Illinois (UoI) - "For the first time, we have measured nanometer-scale infrared absorption in semiconductor plasmonic microparticles using a technique that combines atomic force microscopy with infrared spectroscopy," - and - "Atomic force microscope infrared spectroscopy allows us to directly observe the plasmonic behaviour within microparticle infrared antennas."
The innovative research was published and described in Applied Physics Letters entitled: Near-field infrared absorption of plasmonic semiconductor microparticles studied using atomic force microscope infrared spectroscopy.
As, also, stated by Professor Daniel M. Wasserman, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UoI - "Highly doped semiconductors can serve as wavelength flexible plasmonic metals in the infrared," - and - "However, without the ability to visualise the optical response in the vicinity of the plasmonic particles, we can only infer the near-field behaviour of the structures from their far-field response. What this work gives us is a clear window into the optical behaviour of this new class of materials on a length scale much smaller than the wavelength of light."
The published research, above, compares near-field and far-field measurements with electromagnetic simulation to confirm the presence of localised plasmonic resonance (LPR). Furthermore, the study provides insight on the high resolution maps of the spatial distribution of absorption within single plasmonic structures and variation across plasmonic arrays.
Finally, as stated by Mr Jonathan Felts, a MechSE graduate student - "The ability to measure near field behaviour in plasmonic structures allows us to begin expanding out design parameters for plasmonic materials," - and - "Now that we can measure the optical behaviour of individual features, we can start to think about designing and testing more complex optical materials." Original article available here
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