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"Frontiers in Plasmonics: Transformation Optics, Quantum and Non-linear phenomena"

Final Report Summary - PLASMONANOQUANTA (Frontiers in Plasmonics: Transformation Optics, Quantum and Non-linear phenomena)

The dedicated field of Plasmonics now brings together researchers and technologists from a variety of disciplines, with the common aim to take advantage of the subwavelength light confinement associated with the excitation of surface plasmons. The overall objective of PLASMONANOQUANTA project has been to work in depth along three ground-breaking lines of research that are at the cutting edge of the current research in Plasmonics. These three subjects have been:

1) Non-linear phenomena and Plasmonic lasing: the introduction of optical-gain media into plasmonic waveguides has proven to be a feasible way to overcome the inherent losses within the metal. In order to reveal the physics behind this phenomenon, we have developed a new ab-initio theoretical framework that combines the resolution of classical Maxwell’s equations with a quantum-mechanical treatment of the molecules forming the optical-gain medium. Within this formalism we have been able to analyze in depth very recent proposals of plasmon-based nano-lasers.

2) Transformation Optics for Plasmonics: we have devised new strategies for molding the propagation of surface plasmons in metal surfaces. In particular, we have invented two new types of surface plasmons, namely, conformal surface plasmons and magnetic surface plasmons.

3) Quantum Plasmonics: when studying light-matter coupling two different regimes can be distinguished, weak and strong coupling. In the most-interesting strong coupling regime, the interaction between light and matter is so strong that the photon (plasmon) and matter components mix to create new hybrid light/matter states called polaritons. Due to its hybrid nature, a polariton physically extends over the whole size of the EM field. Along this line, we have been able to demonstrate that exciton transport (energy transfer) in organic materials can be greatly enhanced when excitons are strongly coupled to a confined plasmonic mode. Moreover, we have shown that even the photo-chemistry of molecules can be altered by means of the phenomenon of collective strong coupling.