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Final Report Summary - PLASM-ON-FIBRE (Advanced plasmonic-on-fibre devices for optical communication and sensing applications)

The research objectives of the plasm-on-fibre project on Advanced plasmonic-on-fibre devices for optical communication and sensing applications via the International Incoming Fellowship (IIF) programme will transfer the knowledge and expertise of the Marie Curie IIF Fellow Dr J Zhang from the Institute of Solid State Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences, who is specialised in plasmonics and nanophotonics, to the EU host – Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) at Aston University in the UK to carry out the world-class research in the new emerging science area – Plasmonics. We anticipate this project will generate new knowledge, explore potential functions and develop novel plasmonic-on-fibre devices for optical communication and sensing applications and lead to long term collaboration between EU and China. In parallel, this IIF project will also aim to train Ph.D and Master students at AIPT and form a research network with 4 academic and 3 industrial partners in Europe. The outcome of this project will enhance the EU leading position in fundamental knowledge, new ideas and novel devices, technologies and their functional applications in modern plasmonics.
Since the start of the project, Dr. J Zhang has demonstrated plasmonic devices based on noble metal nanostructure arrays, and further to develop plasmonic-on-fibre technologies and their sensing applications, resulting in many novel results. He has transferred his knowledge and skills about plasmonic nanomaterials and fiber sensing technologies to the Ph.D and master students at the Institute of Solid State Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences through supervising the students to do some experiments and present some analysis methods and discussion of plasmonic nanostructure devices. after Dr. J Zhang returned to China, during this year he has attended some international conferences and seminars and given some talks. He also visited and made the collaborations with some universities and companies in Europe and China, also have established some collaborations networks with in Europe, Oceania and China.
Through this project, we have achieved a significant number of good results in plasmonic devices and plasmonic-on-fibre sensors as listed below:
(1) We have developed fabrication methods to synthesize noble metal nanostructure arrays for plasmonic devices (i.e., plasmonic resonators, nanopolarizer and photodetectors).
(2) We have proposed a nanopolarizer based on a plasmonic nanorod, the plasmonic nanopolarizer exhibits a broadband from visible to near-infrared wavelengths. Ultrahigh extinction ratio (e.g., 809.3 dB) and very low insertion loss (e.g., 0.06 dB) can be achieved.
(3) We have successfully designed and fabricated plasmonic resonators based on a gold nanotube metamaterial and demonstrated strong confinement of local fields with low losses. We have found a new plasmonic hybrid resonant cavity mode resulting from the near-field coupling of both transverse and longitudinal modes in the gold nanotube metamaterials. the electric fields are mainly localized at the interfaces between aluminum oxide and gold in the form of the standing-wave longitudinal plasmonic modes, partially localized in the pores and at two ends of the nanotubes owing to the strong coupling of the Fabry-Pérot resonances with extraordinary optical transmission in the periodical structures through the inner nanochannels of the nanotubes. The plasmonic resonators can provide fundamental background for novel nanophotonic devices and efficient sensing of organic molecules.
(4) We have investigated the plasmonic mode coupling in silver nanorod metamaterials as open nanocavities. We have observed a new coupling mode between the nanorods and the substrate of gold film, the coupling mode can be tuned by adjusting the gaps between the nanorods and the substrate. This nanocavities will perform significantly applications in the photonics devices such as label-free plasmonic biosensors or plasmonic nanolasers.
(5) We have performed an enhanced tunable broadband wavelength-selective lead sulfide detector integrated with Au-nanorod arrays. The responsivity of the PbS films with periodic Au-nanorods exhibits a drastic enhancement by up to 125%–175% due to the enhancement of the localized electromagnetic fields around the plasmonic gold nanorods. These excellent figures-of-merit of the tunable broadband plasmon-enhanced PbS films could be a promising candidate in future wavelength-selective photodetector applications.
(6) We have used silver nanorods for sensing applications based on the size and the ambient dielectric medium dependence of transversal resonance modes of localized surface plasmons (LSPs). It is observed that the transversal resonance modes of LSPs in the Ag nanorods are strongly sensitive to their surrounding dielectric medium, a refractive index sensitivity of up to 484 nm/RIU can be achieved.
(7) We have successfully prepared gold nanoparticle arrays on the surfaces of small angle TFGs by using monolayer polystyrene (PS) colloidal crystal template based approach and subsequently coating gold films. Furthermore, it has been observed that the peaks with the SPR characteristics perform red shifts from 1495 to 1540 nm with increasing the refractive index of surrounding media from 1.340 to 1.424 for p-polarization light, indicating the surface plasmon resonance has been excited by coupling the cladding modes in small-angle TFGs, and we have achieved high sensitivity (e.g., larger than 500 nm/RIU). We have used the nanoparticle arrays on the TFGs to detect glucose molecules with low concentrations.
(8) We have successfully prepared gold nanoparticle arrays on the surfaces of large angle TFGs by using monolayer PS colloidal crystal template based approach and subsequently coating gold films. We have observed an enhanced birefringence phenomenon in the PS/Au particle arrays on large angle TFGs.
(9) We have demonstrated sugar-level and glucose concentration detection based on enzyme-functionalized dual-peak long-period fiber grating (LPFG) inscribed in B/Ge codoped 80-μm-cladding single-mode fiber. The glucose detection has shown markedly high sensitivities of 12.211±0.189 nm//ml) for peak 2 and 7.115±0.119 nm/(mg/ml) for peak 1. its sensitivity improvement of approximately one order of magnitude higher than previously reported LPFG and excessively tilted fibre grating (Ex-TFG) for glucose detection. This dual-peak LPFG sensor, as a useful alternative, may find applications in food safety, medical diagnosis, and environmental monitoring.

Talks and Seminars
The IIF fellow Dr J Zhang has participated in various meetings with topics related to the project. Dr J Zhang has given four talks on the results of his research work during the return phase project:
(i) “Plasmonic nanostructure and their applications”, in Seminar on Optical information technology, Institute of Modern Optics/Nankai University, Tianjin/China, 13th June 2017.
(ii) “Resonant cavity modes in plasmonic nanorod and nanotube metamaterials”, Session 1A38: Nanophotonics and plasmonics for information applications III, in META’17, the 8th International Conference on Metamaterials, Photonic Crystals and Plasmonics, Room 118, Songdo Convensia, Incheon/Korea, 25th July 2017.
(iii) “Plasmonic modes of nanostructures and their applications”, in Lecture for M.S. and Ph.D students, School of Instrument Science and Opto-electronics Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei/China, 1st November 2017.
(iv) “plasmonic nanostructures and the coupling effect between plasmonic modes and fiber grating modes”, in International forum on Opto-electronics and nanotechnology covered the universities and institutes located in the Yangtze River Delta, Nanjing University of Post and Telecommunication, Nanjing/China, 21st December 2017.

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