STUDIES OF THE OPTICAL PROPERTIES OF PLASMONIC NANOSTRUCTURES

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2007-11-28

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Various properties of Surface Plasmon Polaritons (SPPs) at the interface between a layer of PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) gratings and a 50 nm thick gold film have been studied. Gold has a negative dielectric constant at visible wavelength range which results in negative refraction phenomenon without medium of both permittivity () and permeability () constants negative. A direct observation of negative refraction has been demonstrated. It verifies our assumption that in the 1-D stripe PMMA gratings on top of a gold film, SPPs experience negative group velocity and positive phase velocity. With this criterion, negative refraction is the natural choice in Snell's Law. Correspondingly, it was previously claimed that with a highly anisotropic layered structure (metal/dielectric stack), the high spatial frequency k vectors scattered from an object can be preserved in an imaging system and the conventional diffraction limit is defeated. In this thesis, this kind of layered structure, a so-called "hyperlens" or "superlens", has been experimentally demonstrated and the results verify theoretical predictions. A proof of concept on corner resonators has also been demonstrated. Four squares with PMMA/Au and Air/Au are arranged so that SPPs are trapped in the corner. It shows the possibility of making a tiny resonator with zero phase paths in the cavity.

An experiment utilizing the field enhancement of SPPs is designed. A surface field is excited on R6G(Rhodamine 6G, fluorophore)/PMMA gratings/Au substrate. The enhanced pumping light pushes up the emission intensity 10-fold or higher compared to a sample with a R6G/PMMA gratings/Glass platform, a transparent substrate. This device with a R6G/PMMA gratings/Au platform has the advantage that the emission light is converted to the normal direction; the collection efficiency is high and the directivity makes the examination easy under a commercial fluorescence optical microscope. This device shows the potential of R6G/PMMA/Au platforms in gene chip industry.

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