Novel approaches to plasmonic enhancement applications: upconverters, 2D materials and tweezers




Seyed Shariatdoust, Mirali

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In this thesis, the local field enhancement from multiple plasmonic structures were studied in different experiments. A new approach was applied to enhance the emission from upconverting nanoparticles to harvest energy from photons below the bandgap. A novel nanofabrication method was introduced to make double nanoholes for use in optical trapping, which was implemented to observe the nonlinear response from 2D materials and the enhanced emission from upconverting single nanoparticles. This method makes a large amount of apertures and is inexpensive. Selective plasmon-enhanced emission from erbium-doped nanoparticles using gold nanorods was demonstrated. Upconversion nanoparticles were excited with a dual-wavelength source of 1520~nm and 1210~nm simultaneously. The power dependence of the observed upconversion emission confirmed the contribution of both excitation bands in the upconversion process. Gold nanorods with resonances at 980~nm and 808~nm were implemented to selectively enhance the upconversion emission in order to harvest light with Si and GaAs solar cells, respectively. I also used colloidal lithography to fabricate double nanoholes which were plasmonic structures used for protein and nanoparticle trapping. This bottom-up technique enabled the fabrication of a large number of structures at low cost. Plasma etching of polystyrene nanoparticles using this technique tuned the cusp separation of double nanoholes down to 10~nm. The smaller cups separation enables to have more confined field in the gap which can be used in plasmonic sensing and plasmon enhanced upconversion processes. This technique can be used to fabricate plasmonic structures for nanoparticle trapping, spectroscopy, and sensing. In the next project, hexagonal boron nitride nanoflakes were trapped in a double nanohole fabricated with the colloidal lithography method. A second harmonic signal was detected at 486.5~nm where the particle was trapped and pumped with an ultra-low power laser at 973~nm. The power dependence measurements supported the second order process for second harmonic generation. Finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations showed a 500-fold field intensity enhancement at the fundamental wavelength and a 450-fold enhancement in the Purcell factor at the second harmonic generation wavelength. This scheme is promising for ultra-fast imaging nonlinear optics technologies. In the last project, colloidal lithography double nanoholes were used to trap upconverting nanocrystals. Colloidal lithography double nanoholes with 32~nm cusp separation achieved 50 times larger emission compared to rectangular apertures. FDTD simulations showed the largest field enhancement in the aperture with the largest upconversion enhancement. 1550~nm emission from the trapped nanoparticle can be used as single-photon source.



plasmon-enhanced emission, upconversion, optical tweezers, colloidal lithography, nanofabrication, physical vapor deposition