Nanoscopy through a plasmonic nanolens

Matthew J. Horton, Oluwafemi S. Ojambati, Rohit Chikkaraddy, William M. Deacon, Nuttawut Kongsuwan, Angela Demetriadou, Ortwin Hess, Jeremy J. Baumberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plasmonics now delivers sensors capable of detecting single molecules. The emission enhancements and nanometer-scale optical confinement achieved by these metallic nanostructures vastly increase spectroscopic sensitivity, enabling real-time tracking. However, the interaction of light with such nanostructures typically loses all information about the spatial location of molecules within a plasmonic hot spot. Here, we show that ultrathin plasmonic nanogaps support complete mode sets which strongly influence the far-field emission patterns of embedded emitters and allow the reconstruction of dipole positions with 1-nm precision. Emitters in different locations radiate spots, rings, and askew halo images, arising from interference of 2 radiating antenna modes differently coupling light out of the nanogap, highlighting the imaging potential of these plasmonic “crystal balls.” Emitters at the center are now found to live indefinitely, because they radiate so rapidly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2275-2281
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


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