Active Plasmonics: Electronic and All-optical Control of Photonic Signals on Sub-wavelength Scales

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Mathematics and Physics

Abstract

The term 'plasmonics' refers to the science and technology dealing with manipulation of electromagnetic signals by coherent coupling of photons to free electron oscillations at the interface between a conductor and a dielectric. This field of research has emerged as an extremely promising technology with several main fields of application: information technologies, energy, high-density data storage, life sciences and security. The opportunity to guide light in the form of surface plasmon waves on metallic films is attractive for the development of integrated photonic chips where the information can be processed all-optically without the need of electronic-to-optical and optical-to-electronic conversion, as well as for integrating photonics with silicon electronics on a fully compatible platform. Performance of optoelectronic devices, such as light emitting diodes and photodetectors, can also be improved by integrating them with plasmonic nanostructures. Recent research in plasmonics has led to significant progress in development of various passive plasmonic components, such as waveguides, plasmonic crystals, plasmonic metamaterials, with tailored photonic properties. Plasmonic studies have, however, almost exclusively concentrated on pure metallic nanostructures and passive devices with properties fixed by the nanostructure parameters. At the same time, real-life applications require active control to achieve signal switching and modulation, amplification to compensate losses along with the direct generation and detection of plasmons. All these can be realised if plasmonic nanostructures are hybridised with functional (molecular or ferroelectric) materials. Here we propose to develop and study hybrid plasmonic nanostructures consisting of nanostructured metals combined with dielectrics to enable active functionalities in plasmonic circuitry. This project will unlock the plasmonics' potential for improvement of real-world photonic and optoelectronic devices and provide insight into physical phenomena which are important for various areas of optical physics and photonic technologies.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/H000917/1 01/09/2009 01/10/2010 £5,176,637
EP/H000917/2 Transfer EP/H000917/1 01/10/2010 31/08/2015 £4,462,875
 
Title In Nanophotonics Lab: Hyperspectral SNOM (a short film by Fanny Hoetzeneder) 
Description A short movie filmed in our lab. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact General Public engagement 
URL http://vimeo.com/59812566
 
Title Nano Nail (by Imogen Clarke) 
Description Nano Nail is an artistic installation with nanoscale features in human body. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact Public Engagement, student recruitment, tells general public about nano 
URL http://imogen-clarke.4ormat.com/nano-nail#0
 
Title Nano Sublimation (by Nedyalka Panova) 
Description NANO Sublimation is an installation depicting in conceptual way plasmonic metamaterial. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Was exhibited in art galleries in London. Currently permanently exhibited at Physics Department at King's College. General public engagement, student recruitment. 
URL http://www.nedyalkapanova.com/
 
Description The term 'plasmonics' refers to the science and technology dealing with manipulation of electromagnetic signals by coherent coupling of photons to free electron oscillations at the interface between a conductor and a dielectric. This field of research has emerged as an extremely promising technology with several main fields of application: information technologies, energy, high-density data storage, life sciences and security. The opportunity to guide light in the form of surface plasmon waves on metallic films is attractive for the development of integrated photonic chips where the information can be processed all-optically without the need of electronic-to-optical and optical-to-electronic conversion, as well as for integrating photonics with silicon electronics on a fully compatible platform. Performance of optoelectronic devices, such as light emitting diodes and photodetectors, can also be improved by integrating them with plasmonic nanostructures. Recent research in plasmonics has led to significant progress in development of various passive plasmonic components, such as waveguides, plasmonic crystals, plasmonic metamaterials, with tailored photonic properties. We have developed plasmonic applications beyond traditional passive devices to achieve plasmonic circuitry components with active functionalities: sources, detectors, modulators and switches, allowing efficient generation and manipulation of optical signals at the nanoscale. Plasmonic nanolasers, including ultrafast nanolasers were developed. Ultrafast (sup 1 ps) switches based on plasmonic materials demonstrated integratable with plasmonic, Si-photonics and other types of phtonic circuitries. Active control to achieve signal switching and modulation, amplification to compensate losses along with the direct generation and detection of plasmons were achieved. All these were realised in plasmonic nanostructures hybridised with functional (molecular or ferroelectric) materials.
Exploitation Route We are exploring ways to licence our patents and created a start-up company.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Other

URL http://www.activeplasmonics.org
 
Description 4 patents have been applied for. Start-up company "Causeway Photonics" created. Nanophotonics Foresight report was instrumental for defining H2020 Photonics workprogramme. Outreach to general public through collaborations with artists.
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Other
Impact Types Cultural,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Contribution to Europen Nanophotonics Foresight Report
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL http://www.nanophotonicseurope.org/
 
Description Nanophotonics: A Forward Look
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL http://www.nanophotonicseurope.org/
 
Description FET CCA
Amount € 640,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Department Horizon 2020
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2018
 
Description Argonne 
Organisation Argonne National Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Investigation on nonlinear and ultrafast response of plasmonic nanostructures
Collaborator Contribution User access to the ultrafast spectroscopy facilities
Impact Publications, conference papers, exchange visits, internal ANL collaborative grants
Start Year 2010
 
Description CUDOS 
Organisation Australian Research Council
Department Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS)
Country Australia 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration on theory of plasmonic devices
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration on theory of plasmonic devices
Impact Publications, conference papers, joint grant applications
Start Year 2011
 
Description INTEL 
Organisation Intel Corporation
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Reserach in plasmonic on-chip interconnects
Collaborator Contribution part-funding of a PhD student, Advisory Board
Impact Publications, conference papers
Start Year 2009
 
Description Tyndall 
Organisation University College Cork
Department Tyndall National Institute
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Design and characterisation of plasmonic-enhanced VCSEL lasers for high-density data storage applications
Collaborator Contribution Fabrication of plasmonic-enhanced VCSEL lasers for high-density data storage applications
Impact Publications, conference papers
Start Year 2010
 
Company Name Causeway Sensors Ltd 
Description Causeway Sensors Ltd has developed novel nanostructured surfaces comprised of nanorods or nanotubes that can be used in a variety of sensing applications. The nature of the nanostructures allows Causeway Sensors to implement a straightforward detection scheme that can be tailored for different markets as diverse as protein bio-sensing through to hazardous gas sensing. Causeway Sensors develops, manufactures and sells a both complete sensing packages, consumable biochips, software and develops solutions for applications in cell biology, microfluidics and nanofluidics, physics, chemistry, cell and particle studies. 
Year Established 2013 
Impact Customers include biology laboratories in academia, Institute laboratories and diverse industry.
Website http://www.causewaysensors.com
 
Description London Science Festival 2011 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our image "Plasmonic ring-resonator" was a joint (with the other image) best-seller. Public could buy prints of the exhibited image with proceed for charity.

Generated lots of interest in general public in science and photonics in particular.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://londonsciencefestival.com/