Letter | Published:

Generation of single optical plasmons in metallic nanowires coupled to quantum dots

Nature volume 450, pages 402406 (15 November 2007) | Download Citation

Abstract

Control over the interaction between single photons and individual optical emitters is an outstanding problem in quantum science and engineering. It is of interest for ultimate control over light quanta1, as well as for potential applications such as efficient photon collection2, single-photon switching3 and transistors4, and long-range optical coupling of quantum bits5,6. Recently, substantial advances have been made towards these goals, based on modifying photon fields around an emitter using high-finesse optical cavities2,3,5,6,7,8. Here we demonstrate a cavity-free, broadband approach for engineering photon–emitter interactions4,9 via subwavelength confinement of optical fields near metallic nanostructures10,11,12,13. When a single CdSe quantum dot is optically excited in close proximity to a silver nanowire, emission from the quantum dot couples directly to guided surface plasmons in the nanowire, causing the wire’s ends to light up. Non-classical photon correlations between the emission from the quantum dot and the ends of the nanowire demonstrate that the latter stems from the generation of single, quantized plasmons. Results from a large number of devices show that efficient coupling is accompanied by more than 2.5-fold enhancement of the quantum dot spontaneous emission, in good agreement with theoretical predictions.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge discussions with M. Loncar, J. Doyle, A. Sørensen and M.-H. Yoon, and support from the NSF, DARPA, Harvard-MIT CUA, Harvard CNS, the DTO, the Packard Foundation and Samsung Electronics.

Author information

Author notes

    • A. V. Akimov
    • , A. Mukherjee
    •  & C. L. Yu

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physics,

    • A. V. Akimov
    • , A. Mukherjee
    • , D. E. Chang
    • , A. S. Zibrov
    • , H. Park
    •  & M. D. Lukin
  2. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • C. L. Yu
    •  & H. Park
  3. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA

    • P. R. Hemmer
  4. P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute RAS, Leninskiy prospect 53, Moscow, 119991, Russia

    • A. V. Akimov
    •  & A. S. Zibrov

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to H. Park or M. D. Lukin.

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    Supplementary Information

    The file contains Supplementary Notes with Supplementary Figures S1-S12 and additional references.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06230

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