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Hybrid Nanophotonics for Enhanced Light Control

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Light-based technology is shrinking

Plasmonic nano-antennas have received the attention of EU-funded researchers due to their ability to control the emission and scattering of light with a nano-scale footprint.

Digital Economy
Fundamental Research

Exerting control on single photons generated by individual emitters is a fundamental step towards quantum technologies with applications including on-chip routing of single photons. The aim of the EU-funded project HYNANO (Hybrid nanophotonics for enhanced light control) was to achieve long-range coupling of two or more single emitters. Researchers worked on a model system, where light originating from a single emitter is transported to another. They combined nanofibre waveguides with plasmonic nano-antennas. One of the challenges of photonic systems coupling emitters with nanostructured media was the selective channelling of photons into specific optical modes and their transport. Polymer nanofibres, however, improve on conventional silica fibres with emitters coupled on the nanofibre surface. These waveguides are cavity-free with a broadband response. Inspired by plasmonic architectures, such subwavelength nanostructures are emerging as attractive candidates for light management at room temperature. The HYNANO team showed that nanofibres electrospun with embedded emitters combine light localisation with low propagation losses. They used state-of-the-art microscopy to study their optical emission properties and quantify the coupling efficiency. Furthermore, random lasing was explored as a versatile biocompatible system, increasing opportunities for biophotonic applications and biosensing. This line of research led to a patent application for a new scheme for sensing with lasers made from silk proteins nanostructured in a disordered porous matrix.

Keywords

Quantum technologies, HYNANO, nanofibre waveguide, plasmonic architecture, random lasing

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