The goal of the proposed research is to develop a new class of optics and devices based on metallic nanoaperture array structures that performs beam-shaping functions in a fashion distinctly different from the conventional optics. The proposed devices are designed to allow refractive transmission of light through metallic nanoapertures involving plasmonic interactions. An incident beam couples into a surface plasmon mode and propagates along a nanoslit formed in metal. At the exit surface, the surface plasmon wave decouples into radiation modes. In the proposed structures, the phase retardation of optical waves emanating from nanoaperture elements is controlled by metal thickness and/or refractive index in the aperture regions. The PI's preliminary study based on finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation demonstrates a beam shaping (focusing and collimation) capability of a convex-shaped metallic nanoslit array lens. He proposes proof-of-concept experiments and plan to develop the metal-based refractive optics into an enabling technology for a new class of beam-shaping devices. The scope of the proposed research covers design, fabrication, and characterization of nano-optic structures and study of the plasmonic phenomena occurring in the metallic structures.

Broader Impacts:

This study is expected to lead to the development of a new class of optical device technologies that will make major contributions to various fields, such as imaging, lithography, patterning, spectroscopy, communication, information technology, and health care. This research will provide an educational paradigm for training the future scientists and engineers for the emerging field of nanophotonics and plasmonics. The research team will be proactive in recruiting students from under-represented groups to the program. The present proposal includes support for two undergraduate students each year.

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University of Pittsburgh
United States
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