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Subwavelength colour imaging with a metallic nanolens


Early research into metamaterials by other scientists has shown that nanostructured metamaterials can focus incident light and act as a lens. Although such structures are capable of subwavelength imaging, they have two major restrictions: they can only work at one particular wavelength, and the image can only be transferred for a short distance within the limits of the near field and is therefore undetectable in the far field. Here, we propose a lens made of stacked silver nanorods that is capable of colour imaging at subwavelength resolution in the visible range. The subwavelength image can be transferred over distances of at least micrometre scale and magnified before detection by conventional optics devices. Such a nanorod lens has the potential to be an indispensable imaging tool, with particular application to biomedical applications, where individual viruses and other nano-entities could be imaged in colour in the far field.

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Figure 1: Optical energy transfers plasmonically through the lengths of silver nanorods.
Figure 2: Long-distance image transfer can be realized through a stacked arrangement of nanorod arrays.
Figure 3: The resonance band becomes broader with an increasing number of layers.
Figure 4: Gap-size dependence for the stacked layers of metallic nanorods.
Figure 5: The effect of tapering in stacked layers of metallic nanorods.


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The authors would like to thank Jun-ichi Kato of RIKEN, Japan, for fruitful discussions. This work was financially supported by the CREST (Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology) project of JST (Japan Science and Technology Corporation).

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All authors collectively conceived the concept of the work presented here. The authors contributed equally in carrying out calculations and in writing this article.

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Correspondence to Satoshi Kawata.

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Kawata, S., Ono, A. & Verma, P. Subwavelength colour imaging with a metallic nanolens. Nature Photon 2, 438–442 (2008).

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