Engineering Plasmonic Interactions in Three Dimensional Nanostructured Systems
Singh, Haobijam Johnson
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Strong light matter interactions in metallic nanoparticles (NPs), especially those made of noble metals such as Gold and Silver is at the heart of much ongoing research in nanoplasmonics. Individual NPs can support collective excitations (Plasmon’s) of the electron plasma at certain wavelengths, known as the localized surface Plasmon resonance (LSPR) which provides a powerful platform for various sensing, imaging and therapeutic applications. For a collection of NPs their optical properties can be signify cannily different from isolated particles, an effect which originates in the electromagnetic interactions between the localised Plasmon modes. An interesting aspect of such interactions is their strong dependence on the geometry of NP collection and accordingly new optical properties can arise. While this problem has been well considered in one and two dimensions with periodic as well as with random arrays of NPs, three dimensional systems are yet to be fully explored. In particular, there are challenges in the successful de-sign and fabrication of three dimensional (3D) plasmonic metamaterials at optical frequencies. In the work presented in this thesis we present a detail investigation of the theoretical and experimental aspects of plasmonic interactions in two geometrically different three dimensional plasmonic nanostructured systems - a chiral system consisting of achiral plasmonic nanoparticles arranged in a helical geometry and an achiral system consisting of achiral plasmonic nanoparticle arrays stacked vertically into three dimensional geometry. The helical arrangement of achiral plasmonic nanoparticles were realised using a wafer scale technique known as Glancing Angle Deposition (GLAD). The measured chiro-optical response which arises solely from the interactions of the individual achiral plasmonic NPs was found to be one of the largest reported value in the visible. Semi analytical calculation based on couple dipole approximation was able to model the experimental chiro-optical response including all the variabilities present in the experimental system. Various strategies based on antiparticle spacing, oriented elliptical nanoparticles, dielectric constant value of the dielectric template were explored such as to engineer a strong and tunable chiro-optical response. A key point of the experimental system despite the presence of variabilities, was that the measured chiro-optical response showed less than 10 % variability along the sample surface. Additionally we could exploit the strong near held interactions of the plasmonic nanoparticles to achieve a strongly nonlinear circular differential response of two photon photoluminescent from the helically arranged nanoparticles. In addition to these plasmonic chiral systems, our study also includes investigation of light matter interactions in purely dielectric chiral systems of solid and core shell helical geometry. The chiro-optical response was found to be similar for both the systems and depend strongly on their helical geometry. A core-shell helical geometry provides an easy route for tuning the chiro-optical response over the entire visible and near IR range by simply changing the shell thickness as well as shell material. The measured response of the samples was found to be very large and very uniform over the sample surface. Since the material system is based entirely on dielectrics, losses are minimal and hence could possibly serve as an alternative to conventional plasmonic chiro-optical materials. Finally we demonstrated the used of an achiral three dimensional plasmonic nanostructure as a SERS (surface enhance Raman spectroscopy) substrate. The structure consisted of porous 3D metallic NP arrays that are held in place by dielectric rods. For practically important applications, the enhancement factor, as well as the spatial density of the metallic NPs within the laser illumination volume, arranged in a porous 3D array needs to be large, such that any molecule in the vicinity of the metal NP gives rise to an enhanced Raman signal. Having a large number of metallic NPs within the laser illumination volume, increases the probability of a target molecule to come in the vicinity of the metal NPs. This has been achieved in the structures reported here, where high enhancement factor (EF) in conjunction with large surface area available in a three dimensional structure, makes the 3D NP arrays attractive candidates as SERS substrates.
- Physics (PHY) 
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