Coulomb blockade plasmonic switch




Xiang, Dao
Wu, Jian
Gordon, Reuven

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Nano Letters


Tunnel resistance can be modulated with bias via the Coulomb blockade effect, which gives a highly nonlinear response current. Here we investigate the optical response of a metal–insulator–nanoparticle–insulator–metal structure and show switching of a plasmonic gap from insulator to conductor via Coulomb blockade. By introducing a sufficiently large charging energy in the tunnelling gap, the Coulomb blockade allows for a conductor (tunneling) to insulator (capacitor) transition. The tunnelling electrons can be delocalized over the nanocapacitor again when a high energy penalty is added with bias. We demonstrate that this has a huge impact on the plasmonic resonance of a 0.51 nm tunneling gap with ∼70% change in normalized optical loss. Because this structure has a tiny capacitance, there is potential to harness the effect for high-speed switching.



Coulomb blockade, nanoparticles, quantum tunnelling, switching


Xiang, D., Wu, J., & Gordon, R. (2017). Coulomb blockade plasmonic switch. Nano Letters, 17(4), 2584–2588.