Direct photonic - Plasmonic coupling and routing in single nanowires

Department of Chemistry, University of California, Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 12/2009; 106(50):21045-50. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0902064106
Source: PubMed


Metallic nanoscale structures are capable of supporting surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs), propagating collective electron oscillations with tight spatial confinement at the metal surface. SPPs represent one of the most promising structures to beat the diffraction limit imposed by conventional dielectric optics. Ag nano wires have drawn increasing research attention due to 2D sub-100 nm mode confinement and lower losses as compared with fabricated metal structures. However, rational and versatile integration of Ag nanowires with other active and passive optical components, as well as Ag nanowire based optical routing networks, has yet to be achieved. Here, we demonstrate that SPPs can be excited simply by contacting a silver nanowire with a SnO(2) nanoribbon that serves both as an unpolarized light source and a dielectric waveguide. The efficient coupling makes it possible to measure the propagation-distance-dependent waveguide spectra and frequency-dependent propagation length on a single Ag nanowire. Furthermore, we have demonstrated prototypical photonic-plasmonic routing devices, which are essential for incorporating low-loss Ag nanowire waveguides as practical components into high-capacity photonic circuits.

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