Date

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Adviser

Bartoli, Filbert J.

Other advisers/committee members

Kafafi, Zakya H.; Kumar, Sushil; Cheng, Xuanhong; Ou-Yang, Daniel

Abstract

Since the first report of the extraordinary optical transmission (EOT) phenomenon through periodic subwavelength hole arrays milled in optically-thick metal film, plasmonics have generated considerable interest because they enable new fundamental science and application technologies. Central to this phenomenon is the role of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs), which are essentially electromagnetic waves trapped at the interface between a metal and a dielectric medium through their interactions with free electrons at the metal surface. The resonant interaction between the incident light and surface charge oscillations enables the concentration and manipulation of light at deep subwavelength scales, opening up exciting application opportunities ranging from subwavelength optics and optoelectronics to bio/chemical sensing. Furthermore, additional phenomena arise as the thickness of metal film decreases to be comparable to its skin depth (optically-thin), and the single-interface SPPs on the top and bottom metal surfaces combine to form two coupled SPPs, the long-range and short-range SPPs. Until now, much less work has focused on the study of surface plasmon resonances (SPRs) in ultrathin nanostructured metals. This dissertation seeks to elucidate underlying physical mechanisms of SPRs in ultrathin nanostructured metals and tailor them for practical applications. Inspired by state-of-the-art advances on plasmonics in optically-thick nanostructured metals, one- (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) ultrathin plasmonic nanostructures are exploited for particular applications in three essential areas: photovoltaics, color filters and biosensors, achieving superior performances compared with their optically-thick counterparts. More specifically, this thesis is focused on systematic investigations on: (1) plasmonic transparent electrodes for organic photovoltaics and polarization-insensitive optical absorption enhancement in the active layer; (2) plasmonic subtractive color filters with record-high transmission efficiency and other unique properties; (3) rapid and highly-sensitive plasmonic bio-sensors employing ultrathin nanogratings. The successful development of these new plasmonic platforms have far-reaching impact on green energy technologies, next-generation displays and imagers, and label-free bio-sensing for point-of-care diagnostics.

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