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Photonic Applications of Nanoparticle Assemblies and Systems

Final Report Summary - PHANTASY (Photonic Applications of Nanoparticle Assemblies and Systems)

The objective of the joint research programme was to improve the present level of technology in order to produce advanced structures that include colloids, nanoparticles, oxides and metals and to gain a fundamental understanding of their properties with the aim of using them for manipulation of light on the nanoscale.

The members of the consortium studied properties of advanced materials and structures that included colloidal photonic crystals (PhCs), inverted PhCs, nanocomposites based on PhCs, chalcogenide glass doped with rare-earth ions and amorphous chalcogenide films, porous glass infiltrated with organic dyes, oxides and metal nanoparticles and samples based on chrysotile asbestos containing macroscopic unidirectionally aligned arrays of metal and InP nanowires.

Such materials were synthesised, assembled or modified and their mechanical, optical, electrical and magnetic properties measured. The experimental results were compared with theoretical models to assess the metamaterial properties of samples studied. Potential applications of several nanocomposite structures were investigated and are/will be the subject of follow-up studies.

The project was divided into 3 Work Packages.

In WP1 we studied methods of forming colloidal photonic and plasmonic crystals on different substrates as well as heterocrystals made from silica and polystyrene (PS) spheres of different sizes with a controllable rate of disorder. Interstices between the spheres were infilled by different materials (polymers, oxides, chalcogenide glass, semiconductors and metals) using different techniques. Such nanocomposites exhibit tunable properties. They are capable of changing their properties including colour by external stimuli, such as mechanical stress, electric field, pH of the surrounding medium etc
They have multiple potential applications as new sensing materials and devices, including solar concentrators and solar cells and can be used in circuits for telecommunications, to visualise deformation and strain damage in civil infrastructures, such as bridges and tunnels, and in energy storage devices.

WP2 aimed at creating a metallodielectric colloidal platform for plasmonic circuits, quantum information processing and optical transformations. Metal-coated PhCs were formed and a variety of surface modes existing in such structures were investigated. It has been shown that deep 3D corrugations in optically transparent metal films enable overlapping of some of these resonances. This approach may ultimately lead to the production of different optical components within one technological approach, thus facilitating photonic integration and reducing fabrication costs.
The superconducting transitions, critical temperatures and magnetic fields were studied from Indium- infilled nanocomposites prepared by pressure injection of molten Indium into the voids of colloidal crystals prepared by different techniques.
WP3 aimed at dissemination activities. There were two events carried out by the consortium – a
Summer School in 2013, which was modelled as an Advanced Study Institute (ASI) and supported by NATO as a part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security programme. Several other sponsors included Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Radisson Blu hotel Cork, Failte Ireland, Bionavis etc.

A banner (left) and a group photograph (above) of students and lecturers participating at the “Nanomaterials and Nanoarchitectures” Summer School which was held in Cork in 2013. 55 students from 20 countries participated, 17 of them were from the PhANTASY consortium. A book entitled “Nanomaterials and Nanoarchitectures” based on the lectures presented at the School edited by the School co-Directors was published in August 2015 by Springer Verlag.

The second dissemination event, the nanoMA 2015 conference took place in Tsukuba, Japan in July 2015. It was a satellite meeting to the NIMS annual conference with which it shared the plenary and the poster sessions. There were 55 registered participants at the meeting; 15 were from EU and their attendance was partly sponsored by PhANTASY. The authors of 10 conference presentations, 6 of them from the PhANTASY consortium were invited to submit their works to the STAM (Science and Technology of Advanced Materials) journal, which will publish a Special Focus Issue entitled “Advanced Nanoprocessing and Applications in Sensorics”.
The nanoMA 2015 chairs Dr Fudouzi and Dr Bardosova were confirmed as the Guest Editors.

(2-pages long Final publishable summary report which includes the project logo and some photographs is attached.)