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Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

| EXPLORING THE INTERFACE OF LIGHT AND BIOMEDICINE

  • Editor: Gregory W. Faris
  • Vol. 5, Iss. 5 — Mar. 17, 2010
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Experimental investigation of superfocusing of plasmonic lens with chirped circular nanoslits

Yongqi Fu, Yu Liu, Xiuli Zhou, Zongwei Xu, and Fengzhou Fang  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 4, pp. 3438-3443 (2010)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.003438


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Abstract

A plasmonic lens with metallic chirped circular nanoslits corrugated on Au film supported on quartz substrate for the purpose of superfocusing was put forth and fabricated by means of focused ion beam direct milling technique. Topography of the lens was imaged using an atomic force microscope. After that a near-field scanning optical microscope was employed for optical characterization of focusing performance of the lens. Our experimental results verify the focusing performance and further demonstrate that they are in agreement with the theoretical calculation results. Focusing performance is significantly improved in comparison to that of the non-chirped lens. The lenses are possible to be used for the applications of bioimaging, detection, and inspection in submicron scale resolution.

© 2010 OSA

1. Introduction

With rapid development of plasmonics, many researchers focus on nanofocusing for molecular detection [1

1. F. De Angelis, M. Patrini, G. Das, I. Maksymov, M. Galli, L. Businaro, L. C. Andreani, and E. Di Fabrizio, “A hybrid plasmonic-photonic nanodevice for label-free detection of a few molecules,” Nano Lett. 8(8), 2321–2327 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], imaging [2

2. F. M. Huang, N. Zheludev, and F. J. G de Abajo, “Focusing of light by a nanohole array,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 091119 (2007). [CrossRef]

], and waveguide propagation [3

3. L. Yin, V. K. Vlasko-Vlasov, J. Pearson, J. M. Hiller, J. Hua, U. Welp, D. E. Brown, and C. W. Kimball, “Subwavelength focusing and guiding of surface plasmons,” Nano Lett. 5(7), 1399–1402 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] etc. Various types of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs)-based plasmonic lenses for superfocusing were reported theoretically [4

4. C.-K. Chang, D.-Z. Lin, C.-S. Yeh, C.-K. Lee, Y.-C. Chang, M.-W. Lin, J.-T. Yeh, and J.-M. Liu, “Experimental analysis of surface plasmon behavior in metallic circular slits,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90(6), 061113 (2007). [CrossRef]

12

12. B. Jia, H. Shi, J. Li, Y. Fu, C. Du, and M. Gu, “Near-field visualization of focal depth modulation by step corrugated plasmonic slits,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 94(15), 151912 (2009). [CrossRef]

]. In this paper, we experimentally put forth a plasmonic structure constructed with chirped circular nanoslits which were corrugated through an Au thin film supported on quartz substrate, as shown in Fig. 1(a)
Fig. 1 (a) Schematic diagram of the sandwiched plasmonic lens with chirped circular slits corrugated on Au film. Width of the outmost circular slit is 95 nm. Lens dimension (outer diameter) is 12 μm. (b) Scanning electron microscope image of the lens fabricated using focused ion beam milling technique. The scale bar is 4 μm. (c) AFM measurement result: topography of the fabricated lens. (d) NSOM characterization result of the lens: 2D E-field intensity distribution at propagation distance of 2.5 μm.
. The chirped circular nanoslits here means that slit widths and periods of the rings are changed as described in Table 1

Table 1. Slit width of the rings in the order from inner to outer (designed f=1μm) at λ=532nm

table-icon
View This Table
. Theoretically, focusing spot size at site of full width and half maximum (FWHM) of ~λ/3 at near-field and long depth of focus can be realized for the lens with the corrugated structures. Resolution of the chirped structure is higher than that of the constant grating-like structures [11

11. Z. Sun and H. K. Kim, “Refractive transmission of light and beam shaping with metallic nano-optic lenses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 85(4), 642 (2004). [CrossRef]

,12

12. B. Jia, H. Shi, J. Li, Y. Fu, C. Du, and M. Gu, “Near-field visualization of focal depth modulation by step corrugated plasmonic slits,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 94(15), 151912 (2009). [CrossRef]

]. The focusing region is formed by interference between surface plasmon wave and diffractive wavelets generated through the slits. Each slit here acts as a small lasing cavity with Fabry-Pérot resonance which contributes on the final focusing. In physical mechanism, the transmission intensity at the focal point is synthesized by iteration of each zone focusing and interference each other, and can be expressed as
I=αi=1NCIi0ISP4riλSPe(ri/lSP)
(1)
where Ii 0 is the intensity of diffractive wavelet at ith zone, I SP is the intensity of the SPP wave passing through the ith slit, r i is the radius of each zone, i is the number of the zones, l SP is the propagation length for the SPP wave, α is interference factor, and C is the coupling efficiency of the slits. C is a complicated function of the slit geometry and will likely have a different functional form when the slit width is much larger or much smaller than the incident wavelength.

It is the interference of all the SPP’s from the multiple rings that produces the intensity enhancement. Focusing performance of the proposed plasmonic lens was demonstrated in detail on the basis of our experimental study presented below.

2. Experimental setup

In order to further demonstrate and verify the focusing performance of the plasmonic lens with chirped circular slits experimentally, optical characterization by means of a near-field scanning optical microscope ‖NSOM| was carried out recently in our laboratory for a newly designed plasmonic lens with total 8 chirped circular slits which were etched through an Au film supported with glass. Width of the outmost circular slit (8th) is 95 nm. The wave field at the focal point was mapped using the NSOM. For the NSOM measurement, near-field intensity distributions at different horizontal planes vertical to the optical axis have been obtained and compared with simulation results calculated using the finite difference time domain (FDTD) algorithm [14

14. FDTD Solution, commercial professional software coded by Lumerical Inc.: http://www.lumerical.com.

]. Our NSOM probing results were found to be in agreement with the theoretical calculation results.

Configuration of the plasmonic lens is an asymmetric structure in which a thin film of Au is sandwiched between air and glass, as shown in Fig. 1(a). Information regarding design of the plasmonic lens was described in detail in Ref. 8

8. Y. Fu, W. Zhou, E. N. L. Lim, C. Du, and X. Luo, “Plasmonic microzone plate: superfocusing at visible regime,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 91(6), 061124 (2007). [CrossRef]

. The Au thin film of 200 nm in thickness was coated on quart substrate using e-beam evaporation technique. The lens was fabricated using focused ion beam (FEI Quanta 200 3D dual beam system) direct milling technique, as shown in Fig. 1(b) [13

13. Y. Fu, W. Zhou, L. E. N. Lim, C. Du, X. Luo, Z. Zhao, X. Dong, H. Shi, and C. T. Wang, “Geometrical characterization issues of plasmonic nanostructures with depth-tuned grooves for beam shaping,” Opt. Eng. 45(10), 108001 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. Geometrical characterization was performed using an atomic force microscope (Nanoscope 2000 from DI company). Figure 1(c) shows topography of the FIB fabricated plasmonic lens. The optical measurement was performed with a near-field optical microscope (MultiView 2000TS from Nanonics Inc. in Israel) where a tapered single mode fiber probe, with an aperture diameter of 100 nm, was used working in collection mode. The fiber tip was raster scanned at a discrete constant height of 500 nm, 1.0 μm, 1.5 μm, 2.0 μm, 2.5 μm, 3.0 μm, 3.2 μm, 3.5 μm, 3.7 μm, 4 μm, 4.5 μm, and 5 μm, respectively, above the sample surface,and allowing us to map the optical intensity distribution over a grid of 256×256 points spanning an area of 20×20 μm2. Working wavelength of the light source is 532 nm (Nd: YAG laser with power of 20 mW). Additionally, a typical lock-in amplifier and optical chopper were utilized to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio. Figure 1(d) shows the measured three-dimensional (3D) electric field intensity distribution of the lens at propagation distance of 2.5 μm.

3. Experimental results and discussion

Figure 2
Fig. 2 NSOM mapping of E-field intensity distribution at x-y plane at propagation distance of (a) 0.5 μm; (b) 1 μm; (c) 2.5 μm, and (d) 5μm. The arrow in (b) indicates polarization direction.
shows the NSOM mapping images at different propagation distance ranging from near field of 0.5 μm to far field of 5 μm in free space. It can be seen that the incident light focusing at 0.5 μm, 1.5 μm, and 2.5 μm, and dispersed at 5 μm. The long focal depth is confirmed from the NSOM images. Figure 2(d) presents the near-field intensity distribution at a plane as far as 5 μm away from the interface. At such a distance, the detected peak intensity significantly reduced to less than 9% of the intensity at the slit surface. The intensity distribution at Fig. 3(d)
Fig. 3 Comparison between the calculated and measured E-field intensity profiles probed at x-z plane at propagation distance of (a) 0.5 μm; (b) 1 μm; (c) 2.5 μm, and (d) 5μm.
further shows a Gaussian shaped cross section but with a much larger FWHM (~1.6 μm) and a much lower peak intensity compared with that shown in Fig. 2(b) and (c). The image in Fig. 2(a) shows an apparent polarization effect along linear polarization direction indicated by the arrow. For linearly polarized light, what we probed electric field intensity is the in-plane component which interferes constructively at the focus, and the Ez component vanishes due to destructive interference [1

1. F. De Angelis, M. Patrini, G. Das, I. Maksymov, M. Galli, L. Businaro, L. C. Andreani, and E. Di Fabrizio, “A hybrid plasmonic-photonic nanodevice for label-free detection of a few molecules,” Nano Lett. 8(8), 2321–2327 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

To further compare the measured results with the theoretically calculated results, we plotted E-field intensity profiles at x-axis together with that of the numerical calculated, as shown in Fig. 3 (a)-(d) and Fig. 4
Fig. 4 Comparison between the calculated and measured results of E-field intensity vs. propagation distance z, and FWHM, respectively.
. In our 3D FDTD calculations, simulation time and mesh size are 150 fs, and Δx = Δy = Δz = 5 nm, respectively. The optical field is p-polarized monochromatic wave with the wavelength of 532 nm in the air. At this wavelength, the Au layer has the refractive index of 0.452+i2.451 [15

15. Handbook of Optical Constants of Solids, E.D. Palik (Academic, San Diego, 1998), Chap. 11, p 358.

]. It can be seen that variation tendency of the E-field intensity of the measured is in agreement with the theoretically calculated results. As can be seen from Fig. 3, the measured FWHM of the central lobe is slightly larger than the calculated value for cases (a)-(c), and the difference is large for the case (d) at near-field distance as long as 5 μm. It can be attributed to the background noise signal which is stronger gradually with increasing the probing distance from 0.5 μm to 5 μm. It directly leads to the base intensity increases and causes degradation of the signal-to-noise ratio of the detected optical signal. Thus the difference of FWHM between the measured and calculated data is larger as the probing distance is getting far away from the exit plane. This point is further depicted in Fig. 4 in which the measured intensity vs. propagation distance z is in good agreement to that of the calculated, but FWHM vs. z shows a nearly constant difference due to influence of the background noise which can be regarded as a systematic error in the NSOM system. In addition, the nonlinear variation of the measured data for z>3.5 μm may attribute to increasing of the energy loss of the devergence beam while the probe scans with a limited aperture of 100 nm. The smallest FWHM is 260 nm and 220 nm for the measured and calculated values, respectively at z=0.5 μm. However, even with the presence of the imperfection, the focusing effect is apparent. The measured FWHM of our chirped plasmonic lens is ~310 nm at z=1.35 μm. In contrast, we find reported in Ref.16

16. J. Wang, W. Zhou, and A. K. Asundi, “Effect of polarization on symmetry of focal spot of a plasmonic lens,” Opt. Express 17(10), 8137–8143 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

a value of FWHM=1.24 μm for the equivalent non-chirped structures. It can be seen that the focusing quality is significantly improved by the chirped plasmonic lens.

Figure 5
Fig. 5 Measured 3D E-field intensity distribution of the plasmonic lens vs. lateral x and propagation distance z using NSOM. The figure was replotted using the NSOM probed data.
is a re-plotted 3D image of the NSOM measured intensity profiles along x-axis probed at the different propagation distance z ranging from 5 nm to 5 μm. It intuitively shows the intensity distribution along propagation distance. It can be seen that the peak intensity is significantly enhanced from 0.01 μm to 1 μm, and then degraded gradually in near-field region because of SPP-enhanced wave propagation on Au surface vanished in free space when z >1 μm. Only the interference-formed beam focusing region exists in near-field region. It is also in agreement with our calculated results.

4. Summary

In summary, a plasmonic lens with chirped circular slits for superfocusing was experimentally verified and confirmed by aid of the techniques of FIB nanofabrication, AFM probing, and NSOM characterization. In comparison to the theoretical calculated results, our experimental results demonstrate that the measured results are in agreement with the calculated results.

Acknowledgement

The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 60877021).

References and links

1.

F. De Angelis, M. Patrini, G. Das, I. Maksymov, M. Galli, L. Businaro, L. C. Andreani, and E. Di Fabrizio, “A hybrid plasmonic-photonic nanodevice for label-free detection of a few molecules,” Nano Lett. 8(8), 2321–2327 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

2.

F. M. Huang, N. Zheludev, and F. J. G de Abajo, “Focusing of light by a nanohole array,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 091119 (2007). [CrossRef]

3.

L. Yin, V. K. Vlasko-Vlasov, J. Pearson, J. M. Hiller, J. Hua, U. Welp, D. E. Brown, and C. W. Kimball, “Subwavelength focusing and guiding of surface plasmons,” Nano Lett. 5(7), 1399–1402 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

4.

C.-K. Chang, D.-Z. Lin, C.-S. Yeh, C.-K. Lee, Y.-C. Chang, M.-W. Lin, J.-T. Yeh, and J.-M. Liu, “Experimental analysis of surface plasmon behavior in metallic circular slits,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90(6), 061113 (2007). [CrossRef]

5.

S. Kim, Y. Lim, H. Kim, J. Park, and B. Lee, “Optical beam focusing by a single subwavelength metal slit surrounded by chirped dielectric surface gratings,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(1), 013103 (2008). [CrossRef]

6.

D. Z. Lin, C. K. Chang, Y. C. Chen, D. L. Yang, M. W. Lin, J. T. Yeh, J. M. Liu, C. H. Kuan, C. S. Yeh, and C. K. Lee, “Beaming light from a subwavelength metal slit surrounded by dielectric surface gratings,” Opt. Express 14(8), 3503–3511 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

7.

S. Kim, H. Kim, Y. Lim, and B. Lee, “Off-axis directional beaming of optical field diffracted by a single subwavelength metal slit with asymmetric dielectric surface gratings,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90(5), 051113 (2007). [CrossRef]

8.

Y. Fu, W. Zhou, E. N. L. Lim, C. Du, and X. Luo, “Plasmonic microzone plate: superfocusing at visible regime,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 91(6), 061124 (2007). [CrossRef]

9.

Z. W. Liu, J. M. Steele, W. Srituravanich, Y. Pikus, C. Sun, and X. Zhang, “Focusing surface plasmons with a plasmonic lens,” Nano Lett. 5(9), 1726–1729 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

10.

Z. B. Li, J. G. Tian, Z. B. Liu, W. Y. Zhou, and C. P. Zhang, “Enhanced light transmission through a single subwavelength aperture in layered films consisting of metal and dielectric,” Opt. Express 13(22), 9071–9077 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

11.

Z. Sun and H. K. Kim, “Refractive transmission of light and beam shaping with metallic nano-optic lenses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 85(4), 642 (2004). [CrossRef]

12.

B. Jia, H. Shi, J. Li, Y. Fu, C. Du, and M. Gu, “Near-field visualization of focal depth modulation by step corrugated plasmonic slits,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 94(15), 151912 (2009). [CrossRef]

13.

Y. Fu, W. Zhou, L. E. N. Lim, C. Du, X. Luo, Z. Zhao, X. Dong, H. Shi, and C. T. Wang, “Geometrical characterization issues of plasmonic nanostructures with depth-tuned grooves for beam shaping,” Opt. Eng. 45(10), 108001 (2006). [CrossRef]

14.

FDTD Solution, commercial professional software coded by Lumerical Inc.: http://www.lumerical.com.

15.

Handbook of Optical Constants of Solids, E.D. Palik (Academic, San Diego, 1998), Chap. 11, p 358.

16.

J. Wang, W. Zhou, and A. K. Asundi, “Effect of polarization on symmetry of focal spot of a plasmonic lens,” Opt. Express 17(10), 8137–8143 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

OCIS Codes
(050.1970) Diffraction and gratings : Diffractive optics
(240.6680) Optics at surfaces : Surface plasmons
(260.3910) Physical optics : Metal optics

ToC Category:
Optics at Surfaces

History
Original Manuscript: January 6, 2010
Revised Manuscript: January 19, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: January 20, 2010
Published: February 2, 2010

Virtual Issues
Vol. 5, Iss. 5 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Citation
Yongqi Fu, Yu Liu, Xiuli Zhou, Zongwei Xu, and Fengzhou Fang, "Experimental investigation of superfocusing of plasmonic lens with chirped circular nanoslits," Opt. Express 18, 3438-3443 (2010)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/vjbo/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-18-4-3438


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References

  1. F. De Angelis, M. Patrini, G. Das, I. Maksymov, M. Galli, L. Businaro, L. C. Andreani, and E. Di Fabrizio, “A hybrid plasmonic-photonic nanodevice for label-free detection of a few molecules,” Nano Lett. 8(8), 2321–2327 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. F. M. Huang, N. Zheludev, and F. J. G de Abajo, “Focusing of light by a nanohole array,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 091119 (2007). [CrossRef]
  3. L. Yin, V. K. Vlasko-Vlasov, J. Pearson, J. M. Hiller, J. Hua, U. Welp, D. E. Brown, and C. W. Kimball, “Subwavelength focusing and guiding of surface plasmons,” Nano Lett. 5(7), 1399–1402 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. C.-K. Chang, D.-Z. Lin, C.-S. Yeh, C.-K. Lee, Y.-C. Chang, M.-W. Lin, J.-T. Yeh, and J.-M. Liu, “Experimental analysis of surface plasmon behavior in metallic circular slits,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90(6), 061113 (2007). [CrossRef]
  5. S. Kim, Y. Lim, H. Kim, J. Park, and B. Lee, “Optical beam focusing by a single subwavelength metal slit surrounded by chirped dielectric surface gratings,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(1), 013103 (2008). [CrossRef]
  6. D. Z. Lin, C. K. Chang, Y. C. Chen, D. L. Yang, M. W. Lin, J. T. Yeh, J. M. Liu, C. H. Kuan, C. S. Yeh, and C. K. Lee, “Beaming light from a subwavelength metal slit surrounded by dielectric surface gratings,” Opt. Express 14(8), 3503–3511 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. S. Kim, H. Kim, Y. Lim, and B. Lee, “Off-axis directional beaming of optical field diffracted by a single subwavelength metal slit with asymmetric dielectric surface gratings,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90(5), 051113 (2007). [CrossRef]
  8. Y. Fu, W. Zhou, E. N. L. Lim, C. Du, and X. Luo, “Plasmonic microzone plate: superfocusing at visible regime,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 91(6), 061124 (2007). [CrossRef]
  9. Z. W. Liu, J. M. Steele, W. Srituravanich, Y. Pikus, C. Sun, and X. Zhang, “Focusing surface plasmons with a plasmonic lens,” Nano Lett. 5(9), 1726–1729 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. Z. B. Li, J. G. Tian, Z. B. Liu, W. Y. Zhou, and C. P. Zhang, “Enhanced light transmission through a single subwavelength aperture in layered films consisting of metal and dielectric,” Opt. Express 13(22), 9071–9077 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. Z. Sun and H. K. Kim, “Refractive transmission of light and beam shaping with metallic nano-optic lenses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 85(4), 642 (2004). [CrossRef]
  12. B. Jia, H. Shi, J. Li, Y. Fu, C. Du, and M. Gu, “Near-field visualization of focal depth modulation by step corrugated plasmonic slits,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 94(15), 151912 (2009). [CrossRef]
  13. Y. Fu, W. Zhou, L. E. N. Lim, C. Du, X. Luo, Z. Zhao, X. Dong, H. Shi, and C. T. Wang, “Geometrical characterization issues of plasmonic nanostructures with depth-tuned grooves for beam shaping,” Opt. Eng. 45(10), 108001 (2006). [CrossRef]
  14. FDTD Solution, commercial professional software coded by Lumerical Inc.: http://www.lumerical.com .
  15. Handbook of Optical Constants of Solids, E.D. Palik (Academic, San Diego, 1998), Chap. 11, p 358.
  16. J. Wang, W. Zhou, and A. K. Asundi, “Effect of polarization on symmetry of focal spot of a plasmonic lens,” Opt. Express 17(10), 8137–8143 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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