Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Imaging of surface plasmons may be a lot easier than previously thought

Date:
June 6, 2011
Source:
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Summary:
An unusual observation turned into a scientific breakthrough when researchers investigating the optical properties of nanomaterials discovered that so-called surface plasmons leave imprints on the surface of the nanostructures. This led to a new type of high resolution microscopy for imaging the electric fields of nanostructures.

An unusual observation turned into a scientific breakthrough when K.U.Leuven researchers investigating the optical properties of nanomaterials discovered that so-called surface plasmons leave imprints on the surface of the nanostructures. This led to a new type of high resolution microscopy for imaging the electric fields of nanostructures.

Nanomaterials, consisting of extremely small particles or thin layers, tend to acquire unexpected properties. Optical nanomaterials are a class of materials that have emerged over the last ten years and that have quickly become a hot topic in material science due to their counterintuitive optical behavior and revolutionary potential applications. Optical nanomaterials are mainly based on surface plasmon resonances -- the property whereby, in metallic nanostructures, light can collectively excite surface electron waves. These electron waves have the same frequency as light, but much shorter wavelengths, which allow their manipulation at the nanoscale. In other words, with the help of plasmons, light can be captured, modified and even stored in nanostructures. This emerging technology finds applications in surprising areas, ranging from cancer treatment (by targeting cancer cells with nanoparticles that will produce heat when excited) to invisibility (by causing light to follow a trail of nanoparticles, that acts as an invisibility cloak to whatever is underneath them).

The imaging of surface plasmons provides a direct way to map and understand the local electric fields that are responsible for the unusual electromagnetic properties of optical nanomaterials. However, the imaging of surface plasmons is quite challenging. While there are methods to image plasmons with high resolution, they come at a considerable increase in both cost and complexity. But now, Ventsislav K. Valev and his colleagues have demonstrated a powerful and user friendly method for imaging plasmonic patterns in nanostructures.

"We were performing routine characterization of freshly grown samples, when I asked Yogesh, one of our Ph.D. students, to look at a sample that had already been studied. There was absolutely no reason to do this; I just had a hunch," sais Ventsislav Valev. "Surprisingly, this sample appeared to be decorated and I immediately recognized the pattern. Somehow, the optical properties have been imprinted on the surface of the nanostructures."

The scientists indeed found out that upon illuminating nanostructures made of nickel or palladium, the resulting surface plasmon pattern is imprinted on the structures themselves. This imprinting is done through displacing material from the nanostructure to the regions where the plasmon enhancements are the largest. In this manner, the plasmons are effectively decorated, allowing for subsequent imaging with standard surface probe techniques, such as scanning electron microscopy or atomic force microscopy. The imprinting method is quite unique, combining aspects of both imaging and writing techniques.

This research is described in an upcoming paper in the journal Physical Review Letters.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. Valev, A. Silhanek, Y. Jeyaram, D. Denkova, B. De Clercq, V. Petkov, X. Zheng, V. Volskiy, W. Gillijns, G. Vandenbosch, O. Aktsipetrov, M. Ameloot, V. Moshchalkov, T. Verbiest. Hotspot Decorations Map Plasmonic Patterns with the Resolution of Scanning Probe Techniques. Physical Review Letters, 2011; 106 (22) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.226803

Cite This Page:

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. "Imaging of surface plasmons may be a lot easier than previously thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606121837.htm>.
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. (2011, June 6). Imaging of surface plasmons may be a lot easier than previously thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606121837.htm
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. "Imaging of surface plasmons may be a lot easier than previously thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606121837.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins