Propagation length enhancement of surface plasmon polaritons in gold nano-/micro-waveguides by the interference with photonic modes in the surrounding active dielectrics

Isaac Suarez, Albert Ferrando, Jose Marques-Hueso, Antonio Díez, Rafael Abargues, Pedro J. Rodríguez-Cantó, Juan P. Martínez-Pastor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

In this work, the unique optical properties of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs), i.e. subwavelength confinement or strong electric field concentration, are exploited to demonstrate the propagation of light signal at 600 nm along distances in the range from 17 to 150 μm for Au nanostripes 500 nm down to 100 nm wide (30 nm of height), respectively, both theoretically and experimentally. A low power laser is coupled into an optical fiber tip that is used to locally excite the photoluminescence of colloidal quantum dots (QDs) dispersed in their surroundings. Emitted light from these QDs is generating the SPPs that propagate along the metal waveguides. Then, the above-referred propagation lengths were directly extracted from this novel experimental technique by studying the intensity of light decoupled at the output edge of the waveguide. Furthermore, an enhancement of the propagation length up to 0.4 mm is measured for the 500-nm-wide metal nanostripe, for which this effect is maximum. For this purpose, a simultaneous excitation of the same QDs dispersed in poly(methyl methacrylate) waveguides integrated with the metal nanostructures is performed by end-fire coupling an excitation laser energy as low as 1 KW/cm2. The proposed mechanism to explain such enhancement is a non-linear interference effect between dielectric and plasmonic (super)modes propagating in the metal-dielectric structure, which can be apparently seen as an effective amplification or compensation effect of the gain material (QDs) over the SPPs, as previously reported in literature. The proposed system and the method to create propagating SPPs in metal waveguides can be of interest for the application field of sensors and optical communications at visible wavelengths, among other applications, using plasmonic interconnects to reduce the dimensions of photonic chips.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1120
Number of pages12
JournalNanophotonics
Volume6
Issue number5
Early online date23 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

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