02 February 2007 ICFO in Nature Photonics

Optical nano-anntena at 100 nm scale

Breakthrough research on nano-antennas led by ICFO’s Molecular NanoPhotonics group, in the news A landmark research advance reported by Tim Taminiau, ICFO PhD student, and Prof Niek van Hulst, at ICFO’s molecular nanophotonics group, in collaboration with colleagues from MESA+ Institute in the Netherlands, highlighted in the Feb 2007 issue of Nature Photonics.

In the highlighted work, Tim Taminiau and colleagues have succeeded in fabricating a nano-antenna that operates at visible (green) wavelengths. This is intrinsically related to their size and shape: for a simple radio- or micro-wave antenna, the height required is approximately one quarter of the wavelength. For an antenna to operate in the optical regime, the optical properties of the metal play a crucial role and its dimensions must be on the 100-nm scale. This has now been achieved. Such optical antennas may be used for subwavelength microscopy and to implement nanodevices for signal processing and optoelectronics.

The achievement was reported recently in Nano Letters 7, 28–33; 2007. This research has been also featured in the Feb 2007 issue of Photonics Spectra.

The molecular nanophotonics group at ICFO, led by Prof Niek van Hulst (ICREA research professor) focuses on nanoscale optical fields (nanoprobes, antennas, plasmonics) and single emitters (molecules, Q-dots, nanowires), using advanced experimental methods, where ultra-small (nanotechnology) and ultra-fast (femtosecond spectroscopy) come together.