Grating formation by metal-nanoparticle-mediated coupling of light into waveguided modes


The trapping, manipulation and conversion of light by nanostructures are of great interest at present, both scientifically and for applications. An important part of this is the interaction of light with optical waveguides, mediated by plasmon-active metal-nanoparticle arrangements. Strong coupling of incident light to waveguide-plasmon polaritons has been demonstrated by means of nanoparticle lattices1,2, as well as by disordered metal-island film distributions3, and it has further been used to enhance the efficiency of solar cells4,5 and LED (ref. 6). Here, we show that a disordered metal-nanoparticle layer, supported by a 40-nm-thick Si3N4 membrane, enables coupling of a single laser pulse to the waveguided modes of the membrane, and that, under certain conditions, this leads to reorganization of the nanoparticle ensemble into ordered one- and two-dimensional grating patterns. Such self-patterning has not been observed before, and could lead to useful methods for the fabrication of complex nanostructures and advanced photonic devices.

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Figure 1: Experimental geometry and the phenomena involved.
Figure 2: Scanning electron microscopy images of samples with patterned gold nanoparticle films on membranes with a thickness of 40 nm.
Figure 3: Experimental results and modelling.


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The work presented here was partly supported through the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research program PHOTO/NANO grant no. 2001:0321/53. Funding for the SEMlab from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.

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L. Eurenius and C. Hägglund contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to L. Eurenius or C. Hägglund or D. Chakarov.

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Eurenius, L., Hägglund, C., Olsson, E. et al. Grating formation by metal-nanoparticle-mediated coupling of light into waveguided modes. Nature Photon 2, 360–364 (2008).

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