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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 17, Iss. 23 — Nov. 9, 2009
  • pp: 20900–20910
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Hybridized nanocavities as single-polarized plasmonic antennas

Ahmet Ali Yanik, Ronen Adato, Shyamsunder Erramilli, and Hatice Altug  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 23, pp. 20900-20910 (2009)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.17.020900


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Abstract

We experimentally demonstrate that hybridized nanocavities in optically thick metal films radiate in coherence, and act as an efficient single-polarized plasmonic nano-antenna array. We employ propagating and localized plasmons to enhance polarization control along one axis, with total suppression of the perpendicular polarization component. The relationship between the near-field and far-field radiation is established through a quasi-static model connecting the individual nano-antenna behavior to the phenomenon of extraordinary light transmission. Hybridized nanocavity antennas, with length scales below the conventional diffraction limit, present opportunities for potential applications in photovoltaics, optoelectronic devices and optical sensors.

© 2009 OSA

1. Introduction

Antennas play a critical role as transmitters and receivers in radio and microwave communications by efficiently converting propagating electromagnetic fields to localized excitations and vice versa. Likewise, it is highly desirable to focus electromagnetic fields to nanoscale dimensions at visible and infrared frequencies to boost light-matter interactions. With the recent advancements in nanofabrication capabilities, a new generation of antennas operating at the optical and infrared frequencies is rapidly emerging. Plasmonic nanoantenna, with a potential to reshape the photonics field by converting light to sub-wavelength scale localized surface plasmons (LSPs), is at the core of new exciting opportunities [1

1. P. J. Schuck, D. P. Fromm, A. Sundaramurthy, G. S. Kino, and W. E. Moerner, “Improving the mismatch between light and nanoscale objects with gold bowtie nanoantennas,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 94(1), 017402 ( 2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

6

6. S. Maier, Plasmonics: Fundamentals and Applications (Springer, New York, 2007).

]. Recent studies have demonstrated orders of magnitude enhancement in second harmonic generation [7

7. A. Nahata, R. A. Linke, T. Ishi, and K. Ohashi, “Enhanced nonlinear optical conversion from a periodically nanostructured metal film,” Opt. Lett. 28(6), 423–425 ( 2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,8

8. S. Kim, J. Jin, Y. J. Kim, I. Y. Park, Y. Kim, and S. W. Kim, “High-harmonic generation by resonant plasmon field enhancement,” Nature 453(7196), 757–760 ( 2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] and in surface-enhance Raman spectroscopy down to the single molecular level [9

9. S. Nie and S. R. Emory, “Probing Single Molecules and Single Nanoparticles by Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering,” Science 275(5303), 1102–1106 ( 1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

11

11. H. Xu, E. J. Bjerneld, M. Käll, and L. Börjesson, “Spectroscopy of single hemoglobin molecules by surface enhanced Raman scattering,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 83(21), 4357–4360 ( 1999). [CrossRef]

]. Remarkably, many of the well-established concepts for radio and microwave frequencies are shown to be still valid at these small dimensions [12

12. L. Novotny, “Effective wavelength scaling for optical antennas,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 98(26), 266802 ( 2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

In this letter, we introduce a quasi-static model incorporating basic antenna principles similar to those reserved for isolated nano-antennas, and extend it to explain the EOT effect. We show that the complex behavior of EOT in specially designed cavities can be explained in a way that is conceptually similar to the widely known hybridization effects in nanoshells [33

33. S. Lal, S. Link, and N. J. Halas, “Nano-optics from sensing to waveguiding,” Nat. Photonics 1(11), 641–648 ( 2007). [CrossRef]

]. This approach provides an intuitive picture of EOT, and explains experimentally observed features in complex cavities remarkably well. Our experimental findings demonstrate that periodic nanocavities in optically thick metal films radiate in coherence and act as efficient plasmonic nano-antenna arrays. We also demonstrate that our structures enable enhanced polarization control surpassing the performance of commercially available holographic wire grid polarizers in the mid-infrared region of the spectrum.

2. Concepts and fundamentals

3. Fabrication and optical characterization

A focused-ion-beam system (FIB) is used to mill periodic and random cavity arrays (~100 µm × 100 µm) in a 100 nm thick gold layer evaporated on a silicon substrate with a 5 nm Cr/Ti adhesion layer. As the skin-depth of the gold at the mid-IR part of the spectrum is approximately 10 nm, direct coupling of the plasmons between the two surfaces of the metal film is negligible. The periodic arrays consisting of 50 × 50 cavities with a period of a=2 µm are fabricated along with arrays consisting of randomly positioned 1500 cavities over an equal total area (100µm × 100µm). The openings are 1.5µm × 0.4µm for the rectangular cavities (RC) while the RCC have equal dimensions with a coaxial core of 1.1µm × 0.2µm. A square aperture of 100 µm × 100 µm size (equal to the total array dimensions) is also defined on the same chip to normalize the measured transmitted signal. Randomized arrays of nanorods, identical to the inner core of the RCC, are fabricated on silicon substrates using electron beam lithography and lift-off process. Figure 2
Fig. 2 Scanning electron images of periodic RCC (a) and RC (b) arrays are shown. Randomized RC array (c) are also fabricated to probe LSPs of individual cavities.
shows scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of the periodic and the randomized nanocavity arrays. Measurements are performed in a transmission configuration using a BrukerTM Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer with a KBr beam splitter (spectral range 350 - 7400 cm−1), connected to an infrared microscope. The light is incident from the silicon substrate side and the transmitted infrared signal is collected with an objective lens (NA=0.4) to a mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) detector (spectral range 600–12500cm−1) as shown in Fig. 1(a). Normalized transmissions of the cavity arrays are divided by the air fraction of the gold film to determine the transmissivity. In order to compare periodic and randomized arrays, we further divided the transmissivity with the number of cavities in each array to estimate the transmissivity per cavity. Similarly, extinction ratios of the nanoparticles are calculated by using normalized transmissions through the nanorod arrays.

The inner cores of the coaxial structures, nanorod antennas, are characterized with extinction measurements obtained from randomized arrays as shown in Fig. 3(b). For incident light polarized along the long axis of the rod (p-polarized state), the resonance excitation occurs at λ=6.66 µm corresponding to the individual LSP resonances of the nanorods. For s-polarized (short axis) incident light, induced dipole strength is much weaker, resulting in lower extinction efficiencies (Fig. 3(b)). However, as we show below, when these nano-rod antennas are placed in a metallic rectangular cavity, they have a profound effect on the strength of the EOT signal even for the s-polarized incident light.

Figure 4
Fig. 4 The polarizibility of the individual nanorod antenna is shown in the figure. SPP resonance wavelength/frequency is shown with the black dashed line which is longer/lower than the plasmonic excitation wavelength/frequency in s- and p-polarized states.
shows the real and the imaginary parts of the polarizability (α) of the nanorod antennas for the p- and s-polarized light calculated according to the Kuwata’s model [39

39. H. Kuwata, H. Tamaru, K. Esumi, and K. Miyano, “Resonant light scattering from metal nanoparticles: Practical analysis beyond Rayleigh approximation,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 83(22), 4625–4627 ( 2003). [CrossRef]

]. For nanorods with dimensions comparable to the wavelength of light, the Rayleigh approximation is not sufficient due to the large phase delays within the driving field over the particle volume. Instead, Kuwata et al has formulated an empirical extension of the Mie’s theory for rod-like structures:
αs,pV(Ls,p+εdεmεd)+Aεdx2+Bεd2x4i4π2εd3/23Vλ3
(1)
where, V is the volume of the particle, εd and εm represents the dielectric constants of the medium and metal antenna, respectively. Ls,p is the depolarization factor in s-/p-polarization and x=πa/λ is the size parameter, a being the length of the antenna. A and B are geometrical factors that have been defined as [39

39. H. Kuwata, H. Tamaru, K. Esumi, and K. Miyano, “Resonant light scattering from metal nanoparticles: Practical analysis beyond Rayleigh approximation,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 83(22), 4625–4627 ( 2003). [CrossRef]

]: A=0.4865Ls,p1.046Ls,p2+0.8481Ls,p3, and B=0.01909Ls,p+0.1999Ls,p2+0.6077Ls,p3. For a nanorod modeled as a cylinder capped with hemispheres, the geometrical factors for the p-polarized light is calculated to beLp=e132e22e1e22e+2/3e13, and 2×Ls+Lp=1, where e=a/b is the aspect ratio. The real and imaginary parts of the polarizability represent the radiation amplitude and the radiation phase, respectively. Nanorod polarizability for the p-polarized light, calculated to be at λnanorod=6.95μm, is more than two orders of magnitude larger than that for the s-polarized light. Accordingly, s-polarized plasmonic resonances of the nanorods, which is predicted to be at λ=1.02 µm (Fig. 4) are not observable in our experiments (Fig. 3(b)). As can be deduced from Eq. (1), the dipole moment of the metallic nanorods undergoes a change of sign, when the structural resonance frequency is crossed at the critical point where the sign of the denominator changes (Fig. (4)). For a s-polarized external field driving the system at a frequency (λSPP = 8.01 μm indicated with vertical dashed line in Fig. 3(a)) lower than the structural resonance frequency of the nanorod antenna (λnanorod=1.02 μm in Fig. (4)), the induced nanorod dipole is in phase with the external field. Here the charge oscillations can easily follow the driving field.

The LSP characteristics of a cavity can as well be expressed with a dipole momentp=αE, where α is the polarizability of a dielectric void embedded in a metallic medium. Unlike nanorods, rectangular cavity polarizabilities, however, cannot be readily obtained using analytical means. One way to determine the phase factor of the nano-cavity polarizability is to find out the EOT resonance wavelength of the individual cavities. As shown in Fig. 3(a), the resonance frequency dictated by the periodicity (λ SSP=8.01 µm) is higher than the resonance frequency of the individual rectangular cavities (λ LSP=9.23 µm). Accordingly, electric charges accumulated inside the cavity surfaces are arranged in a way that the induced electric field is in the opposite direction to the external electric field at λ SSP=8.01µm, as shown in Fig. 5(a)
Fig. 5 Quasi-static model of EOT effect for rectangular coaxial cavities is shown for (a) SPP-mediated and (b) direct coupling of light to LSPs.
.

4. Quasi-static model

Our quasi-static model is based on the two critical observations outlined in our FDTD analysis. The LSPs in the cavity rims serve as electric dipoles, which scatter the light coupled either through the SPPs or directly from the continuum. Preservation of the polarization direction of the E-field component through all the interfaces and inside the cavities enables us to define a net dipole moment for the LSP scattering into the waveguide modes. Within this model, LSPs in cavities with complex shapes such as RCC can be understood through the hybridization of the plasmons supported by the rectangular cavities and nano-rods/inner-core (Fig. 5(a)). The effective dipole moment of an individual RCC in an array can be written as:
pRCC=αCE0+Ecore=αCE0+αCτcavrodαREind
(2)
where the net electric field acting on the cavity is the incident field E0 plus the inner core field Ecore=τcavrodαREind due to the induced charges on the rod. αC and αR are the polarizabilities of the cavity and the nanorod, respectively at the resonance frequency of the SPP (dashed line in Fig. 4). τcavrod is the coupling parameter relating the induced dipole moment of the inner core pR=αREindto the effective field Ecore of the inner core acting on the cavity. The induced dipole moment of the cavity is proportional to the electric field inside the cavityEind=κpRCC, where κis a negative geometrical factor. The net electric dipole moment of the coaxial cavity can then be simplified to pRCC=αCE0/1αCαRτcavrodκ. At the SPP resonance of the periodic pattern (λ SSP=8.01 µm), the structural polarizabilities αC and αR of the cavity and the inner core are positive, while coupling parameter τcavrodis always a negative quantity. Accordingly, the denominator of the PRCCis less than one. The stronger dipole moment for the RCC arrays (pRCC>pRC=αCE0) causes a larger induced electric field inside the cavity openings. Induced charges in the inner/outer surfaces of the cavities/cores of the RCC squeeze the electromagnetic field into a smaller volume in agreement with our FDTD calculations (Fig. 6
Fig. 6 (a) Cross sectional image of the rectangular cavity is shown at the SPP resonance frequency. (b) FDTD analysis shows the enhancement of the field inside the coaxial-cavity due to the hybridization with respect to simple rectangular cavity.
). This leads to an enhanced coupling between SPPs and waveguide modes causing stronger transmissions for the periodic RCC arrays as observed in our experimental measurements (dashed curves in Fig. 3a).

In the case of direct coupling of incident light to the randomized cavities, the field acting on the inner core is the external fieldE0. Accordingly, the dipole moment of the inner core is proportional with the external electric field and in-phase with it (Fig. 5(b)). In this case, the effective dipole moment of an individual RCC can be written as:
pRCC=αCE0+αCτcavrodαRE0
(3)
At the SPP resonance of the periodic pattern (λ SSP = 8.01 µm), the structural polarizability αR of the inner core is positive. Accordingly, the net dipole moment of the RCC (pRCC=αC(1+αRτcavrod)E0) is smaller than the dipole moment of the RC (pRC=αCE0) independently from the cavity polarizibility αc. Induced charges in the inner surfaces of the cavity and the outer rims of the core counteract each other’s electric fields resulting in a smaller net dipole moment (Fig. 5(b)). This is in agreement with experimental measurements showing that EOTs are less efficient for the randomized RCC arrays with respect to RCs (solid curves in Fig. 3(a)).

5. Hybridization of plasmonic excitations

6. Polarization control

Figure 8(b)
Fig. 8 (a) Extinction efficiency for Nanorod antennas is given for changing polarization angles for incident light. Polarization dependence of the EOT signal is shown for (b) rectangular and (c) coaxial nano-cavities. Complementary behavior of the RCC (red square) and RC (blue circles) cavities and the nanorods (green triangles) are observed.
and Fig. 8(c) present the transmissivity of RCC and RC arrays for different polarization directions. The EOT spectra are clearly affected by the incident light polarization, as the strength of the LSPs and light scattering to the waveguide modes are controlled by the polarizability of the cavities. Incident light with s-polarization (along the short axis of the cavities) is transmitted two orders of magnitude more efficiently than the p-polarized light for a cavity with an aspect ratio of only ~e=a/b=4. This behavior is reversed in the case of nano-rods, where the extinction is maximum when the LSPs are excited along the long axis of the antennas (Fig. 8(a)). Figure 8(d) shows the classical Malus law for polarization dependence of the EOT strength and the extinction efficiency. The signals are normalized to unity with the maximum transmission/extinction of the incident light, while their minimum is set as background. EOT strength of the cavities and the extinction efficiencies of the nanorods follows a complementary behavior, in accordance with Babinet’s principle (Fig. 8(d)).

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, we demonstrated that EOT effect and nano-antenna behavior are strongly interrelated. We showed that periodic nanocavities in optically thick metal films radiate in coherence and act as an efficient plasmonic nano-antenna. We also showed that well known nano-antenna phenomena such as hybridization effects are observable in EOT structures. We introduced a quasi-static model for SPP-LSP coupling which can explain experimental measurements remarkably well. We demonstrated that different excitation mechanisms of the LSPs are responsible for the inverse signal strength dependence of the randomized and periodic cavity arrays. Our findings shows that LSPs in periodic RCC arrays can be utilized for enhanced polarization control, surpassing commercially available holographic grid polarizers.

Acknowledgments

This work is supported in part by NSF SGER Award (Grant No. ECCS-0849603), Massachusetts Life Science Center New Investigator Award, NSF funded Engineering Research Center on Smart Lighting, Boston University College of Engineering Dean's Catalyst Award, Boston University Photonics Center and Army Research Laboratory.

References and links

1.

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E. Cubukcu, E. A. Kort, K. B. Crozier, and F. Capasso, “Plasmonic laser antenna,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 89(9), 093120 ( 2006). [CrossRef]

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R. de Waele, A. F. Koenderink, and A. Polman, “Tunable nanoscale localization of energy on plasmon particle arrays,” Nano Lett. 7(7), 2004–2008 ( 2007). [CrossRef]

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H. F. Raether, Surface Plasmons on Smooth and Rough Surfaces and on Gratings (Springer, New York, 1988).

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7.

A. Nahata, R. A. Linke, T. Ishi, and K. Ohashi, “Enhanced nonlinear optical conversion from a periodically nanostructured metal film,” Opt. Lett. 28(6), 423–425 ( 2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

8.

S. Kim, J. Jin, Y. J. Kim, I. Y. Park, Y. Kim, and S. W. Kim, “High-harmonic generation by resonant plasmon field enhancement,” Nature 453(7196), 757–760 ( 2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

9.

S. Nie and S. R. Emory, “Probing Single Molecules and Single Nanoparticles by Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering,” Science 275(5303), 1102–1106 ( 1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

10.

K. Kneipp, H. Kneipp, I. Itzkan, R. R. Dasari, and M. S. Feld, “Surface-enhanced Raman scattering and biophysics,” J. Phys. Condens. Matter 14(18), 597–624 ( 2002). [CrossRef]

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12.

L. Novotny, “Effective wavelength scaling for optical antennas,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 98(26), 266802 ( 2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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T. W. Ebbesen, H. J. Lezec, H. F. Ghaemi, T. Thio, and P. A. Wolff, “Extraordinary optical transmission through sub-wavelength hole arrays,” Nature 391(6668), 667–669 ( 1998). [CrossRef]

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H. Liu and P. Lalanne, “Microscopic theory of the extraordinary optical transmission,” Nature 452(7188), 728–731 ( 2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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C. Genet and T. W. Ebbesen, “Light in tiny holes,” Nature 445(7123), 39–46 ( 2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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W. L. Barnes, A. Dereux, and T. W. Ebbesen, “Surface plasmon subwavelength optics,” Nature 424(6950), 824–830 ( 2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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E. Ozbay, “Plasmonics: Merging Photonics and Electronics at Nanoscale Dimensions,” Science 311(5758), 189–193 ( 2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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38.

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39.

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OCIS Codes
(240.6680) Optics at surfaces : Surface plasmons
(260.3910) Physical optics : Metal optics
(250.5403) Optoelectronics : Plasmonics
(240.5440) Optics at surfaces : Polarization-selective devices

ToC Category:
Optics at Surfaces

History
Original Manuscript: August 7, 2009
Revised Manuscript: September 14, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: September 18, 2009
Published: October 30, 2009

Citation
Ahmet Ali Yanik, Ronen Adato, Shyamsunder Erramilli, and Hatice Altug, "Hybridized nanocavities as single-polarized
plasmonic antennas," Opt. Express 17, 20900-20910 (2009)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-17-23-20900


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References

  1. P. J. Schuck, D. P. Fromm, A. Sundaramurthy, G. S. Kino, and W. E. Moerner, “Improving the mismatch between light and nanoscale objects with gold bowtie nanoantennas,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 94(1), 017402 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. P. Mühlschlegel, H. J. Eisler, O. J. F. Martin, B. Hecht, and D. W. Pohl, “Resonant optical antennas,” Science 308(5728), 1607–1609 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. E. Cubukcu, E. A. Kort, K. B. Crozier, and F. Capasso, “Plasmonic laser antenna,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 89(9), 093120 (2006). [CrossRef]
  4. R. de Waele, A. F. Koenderink, and A. Polman, “Tunable nanoscale localization of energy on plasmon particle arrays,” Nano Lett. 7(7), 2004–2008 (2007). [CrossRef]
  5. H. F. Raether, Surface Plasmons on Smooth and Rough Surfaces and on Gratings (Springer, New York, 1988).
  6. S. Maier, Plasmonics: Fundamentals and Applications (Springer, New York, 2007).
  7. A. Nahata, R. A. Linke, T. Ishi, and K. Ohashi, “Enhanced nonlinear optical conversion from a periodically nanostructured metal film,” Opt. Lett. 28(6), 423–425 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. S. Kim, J. Jin, Y. J. Kim, I. Y. Park, Y. Kim, and S. W. Kim, “High-harmonic generation by resonant plasmon field enhancement,” Nature 453(7196), 757–760 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. S. Nie and S. R. Emory, “Probing Single Molecules and Single Nanoparticles by Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering,” Science 275(5303), 1102–1106 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. K. Kneipp, H. Kneipp, I. Itzkan, R. R. Dasari, and M. S. Feld, “Surface-enhanced Raman scattering and biophysics,” J. Phys. Condens. Matter 14(18), 597–624 (2002). [CrossRef]
  11. H. Xu, E. J. Bjerneld, M. Käll, and L. Börjesson, “Spectroscopy of single hemoglobin molecules by surface enhanced Raman scattering,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 83(21), 4357–4360 (1999). [CrossRef]
  12. L. Novotny, “Effective wavelength scaling for optical antennas,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 98(26), 266802 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. T. W. Ebbesen, H. J. Lezec, H. F. Ghaemi, T. Thio, and P. A. Wolff, “Extraordinary optical transmission through sub-wavelength hole arrays,” Nature 391(6668), 667–669 (1998). [CrossRef]
  14. H. Liu and P. Lalanne, “Microscopic theory of the extraordinary optical transmission,” Nature 452(7188), 728–731 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. C. Genet and T. W. Ebbesen, “Light in tiny holes,” Nature 445(7123), 39–46 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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