Nanoscale light-matter interactions
The massless photons can be effective energy and information carriers like electrons in the solid. However, compared with the electronic devices with sizes down to a few nanometers, the current photonic devices are limited to scales of a few hundred nanometers due to the apparent much longer wavelength of matter waves of photons.
We strive to circumvent this limitation by shrinking the light to the nanoscale and exploring the light-matter interactions in the deep-sub-wavelength regions. The plasmonics of metallic nanoparticles provides the means to confining and shaping the optical fields beyond the diffraction limit, even down to atomic scales. Our current interests are focused on the following aspects:
1. Investigating the interaction between light and a quantum of matter at the nanoscale, such as single emitters or single molecules, developing methods to probe, control, and manipulate the single emitters/molecules.
2. Due to the nanoscale confinement, the light-matter interactions can be significantly boosted to the strong light-matter coupling regime, where the light and matter are hybrid together and form the so-called polaritons. We are interested in utilizing the “half-light half-matter” polaritons to tailor the intrinsic physical or chemical properties of the coupled materials.
Fig.1 The schematics of optical field confined by a plasmonic cavity, which consist of a silver nanocube and metallic mirror. The right panel show a scanning electron microscope image of such cavity.