Directional Superradiant Light Emission from Epsilon-Near-Zero Plasmonic Nanochannels

Project: Research project

Project Details


Nontechnical description: This project advances understanding about how interactions between nanoscale materials and light can be manipulated, leading to optical materials with unique properties and functionalities. The research team utilizes experimental and computational approaches to help realize new materials and structures that enable controlled light emission for use in next generation energy efficient electronics, such as nanoscale lasers, as well as advanced optical communications and sensing technologies. The project supports undergraduate and graduate student involvement in research as a means of encouraging pursuit of advanced study and research careers in nanophotonics. The team extends the impact of this research to introduce concepts in quantum science and electromagnetism to middle school, high school and undergraduate students. The latter include activities focused on photonics during Physics Days at the University of Memphis, and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs at the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience. Further, the investigators leverage their research findings to implement an online teaching resource encompassing a broad range of topics addressing electromagnetic materials for use in undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Technical description: Recent advances in nanofabrication techniques have enabled the integration of nanomaterials into plasmonic nanocavities with sizes much smaller than the diffraction limit, paving the way for optical studies and control of light-matter interaction at the nanoscale. Current research strategies typically require accurate positioning of quantum emitters at nanocavity-localized hotspots, to benefit from increased photonic density of states. In this project, the research team employs both experimental and computational approaches to advance fundamental knowledge of the directional, superradiant coherent light emission from a collection of quantum emitters embedded in unique epsilon-near-zero plasmonic nanochannels. The in-phase plasmonic field confined in an epsilon-near-zero nanochannel provides a path to overcome the localized hotspot dependence and allows emitters to radiate coherently and collaboratively over long distances. The team elucidates fundamental properties of coherent light emission by addressing Dicke superradiance, the Purcell effect and Förster resonance energy transfer in a plasmonic epsilon-near-zero material. In so doing, the team fills gaps in foundational physics understanding, allowing the creation of new nanostructures with unique properties and functionalities. This new knowledge is expected to lead to novel on-chip optical components and coherent light sources for nanophotonic applications, quantum information processing and sensing.

Effective start/end date7/1/176/30/21


  • National Science Foundation: $361,177.00


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