Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Squeezed Through too Small a Hole

28.01.2011
Photon–plasmon coupling: Dye guides light through perforated metal foil

Just as photons are bundles of light energy, plasmons are energy packets of plasma oscillations—oscillations of the electron density in a solid body, which are known as surface plasmons when occurring at a metal interface. Surface plasmons introduce new possibilities for the manipulation and transmission of light for applications in a variety of areas, from modern data processing to biomedical sensing.

In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Thomas W. Ebbesen, James A. Hutchison, and a team from the University of Strasbourg (France) introduce an interesting new effect based on the coupling of photons and plasmons: dye molecules help light pass through holes in metal foils that are so small that conventional theory predicts the light should not actually be able to pass through at all.

According to classical aperture theory, light should not be able to pass through tiny holes when the diameter is significantly smaller than the wavelength of the light. However, as reported by Ebbesen’s group over a decade ago, light transmission can be much higher than predicted for regular arrays of holes owing to the involvement of surface plasmons. In essence, light is converted into surface plasmons, and in this coupled state the photons can pass though the holes to the other side of the metal as plasmons. They can then uncouple and reappear as light.

The French team has now described another phenomenon: if dye molecules are placed directly on the perforated metal surface, they significantly increase its transparence. Contrary to expectation, the additional windows of transparency can occur at wavelengths that are strongly absorbed by the molecules. Interestingly, this also occurs if the arrangement of holes in the foil is irregular; even a single hole is enough.

The researchers propose that two complementary effects are at play. On one hand, the dye molecules in the holes generate a large index variation in the hole favoring the transmission near the absorption band. On the other, the dye molecule generates a kind of “mirror image” of its electric dipole in the metal’s free electron plasma, and the dipole and mirror-image dipole interact. If the molecule then absorbs light, it is not re-emitted; instead, the light energy is completely transferred to the metal surface, where it couples with surface plasmons helping the transmission process. This combination enables the light to pass efficiently to the other side of the metal foil.

This discovery represents a new approach for making perforated metal films with tailored transmission of visible light by simply applying a dye that absorbs light with the desired wavelength, which would have application in solar energy technology, filters, and sensing. That the transient excited states of molecules have absorption properties that are very different to their ground state adds a further dynamic dimension to these films, with all-optical, ultra-fast switches another possible application.

Author: Thomas W. Ebbesen, Université de Strasbourg (France), http://www-isis.u-strasbg.fr/nano/start

Title: Absorption-Induced Transparency

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201006019

Thomas W. Ebbesen | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www-isis.u-strasbg.fr/nano/start
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Show me your leaves - Health check for urban trees
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
12.12.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>