Metal-based optical structures offer much higher optical confinement than is possible in other materials. This strong, deep-subwavelength confinement gives rise to several interesting effects, such as surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and surface plasmon lasing. The plasmonics research in our group has been primarily focused on using metallic optical devices to increase fluorescence from organic dye molecules, colloidal quantum dots, Lanthanide ions, and self-assembled semiconductor quantum dots. The ultimate goals of this research are to create a new class of nanoscale optical sources that are brighter, smaller, and compatible with a wider range of optical emitters than current devices.
Recently, we showed that radiative emission from a thin layer of organic dye, when sandwiched between a specially-prepared mirror and a silver nanowire, can be increased a thousand-fold. A few of our papers related to this structure are available below. We are now working on various approaches to design structures that can achieve similar enhancements with larger external quantum efficiencies and with better control over the placement of the structure.