Conductive polymer nanoantennas for dynamic organic plasmonics


Being able to dynamically shape light at the nanoscale is one of the ultimate goals in nano-optics1. Resonant light–matter interaction can be achieved using conventional plasmonics based on metal nanostructures, but their tunability is highly limited due to a fixed permittivity2. Materials with switchable states and methods for dynamic control of light–matter interaction at the nanoscale are therefore desired. Here we show that nanodisks of a conductive polymer can support localized surface plasmon resonances in the near-infrared and function as dynamic nano-optical antennas, with their resonance behaviour tunable by chemical redox reactions. These plasmons originate from the mobile polaronic charge carriers of a poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene:sulfate) (PEDOT:Sulf) polymer network. We demonstrate complete and reversible switching of the optical response of the nanoantennas by chemical tuning of their redox state, which modulates the material permittivity between plasmonic and dielectric regimes via non-volatile changes in the mobile charge carrier density. Further research may study different conductive polymers and nanostructures and explore their use in various applications, such as dynamic meta-optics and reflective displays.

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Fig. 1: Material properties of PEDOT:Sulf and simulated plasmonic response for PEDOT:Sulf nanodisks.
Fig. 2: Extinction spectra of PEDOT:Sulf nanodisk antennas.
Fig. 3: Geometry dependence of single PEDOT:Sulf nanodisk localized plasmons.
Fig. 4: Redox-state tunability of PEDOT:Sulf nanodisk antennas.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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The authors thankfully acknowledge financial support from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Swedish Government Strategic Research Area in Materials Science on Functional Materials at Linköping University (Faculty Grant SFO-Mat-LiU No. 2009 00971).

Author information

M.P.J. conceived and supervised the project. S.C., V.S., P.K. and V.D. performed the ellipsometry measurements and data analysis. S.C. and M.S.C. fabricated the nanostructures. S.C., M.P.J. and E.S.H.K. performed numerical simulations. H.S. and S.C. performed PEI vapour treatments supervised by S.F. C.W. and M.F. performed the XPS measurements and analysis. S.C. performed all the other characterizations. S.C. and M.P.J. organized the data and wrote the manuscript. All the authors reviewed and commented on the manuscript.

Correspondence to Magnus P. Jonsson.

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Peer review information Nature Nanotechnology thanks Drew Evans and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Section A: Discussion and Tables 1–2., Supplementary Section B: Discussion and Figs. 1–16, and refs. 1–5.

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Chen, S., Kang, E.S.H., Shiran Chaharsoughi, M. et al. Conductive polymer nanoantennas for dynamic organic plasmonics. Nat. Nanotechnol. 15, 35–40 (2020) doi:10.1038/s41565-019-0583-y

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