Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering

First Advisor

Wounjhang Park

Second Advisor

Edward F. Kuester

Third Advisor

Rafael Piestun

Abstract

Plasmonic nanostructures can be engineered to take on unusual optical properties not found in natural materials. The optical responses of plasmonic materials are functions of the structural parameters and symmetry of the nanostructures, material parameters of the nanostructure and its surroundings and the incidence angle, frequency and polarization state of light. The scattering and hence the visibility of an object could be reduced by coating it with a plasmonic material. In this thesis, presented is an optical frequency scattering cancelation device composed of a silicon nanorod coated by a plasmonic gold nanostructure. The principle of operation was theoretically analyzed using Mie theory and the device design was verified by extensive numerical simulations. The device was fabricated using a combination of nanofabrication techniques such as electron beam lithography and focused ion beam milling. The optical responses of the scattering cancelation device and a control sample of bare silicon rod were directly visualized using near-field microscopy coupled with heterodyne interferometric detection. The experimental results were analyzed and found to match very well with theoretical prediction from numerical simulations thereby validating the design principles and our implementation. Plasmonic nanostructures could be engineered to exhibit unique optical properties such as Fano resonance characterized by narrow asymmetrical lineshape. We present dynamic tuning and symmetry lowering of Fano resonances in plasmonic nanostructures fabricated on flexible substrates. The tuning of Fano resonance was achieved by application of uniaxial mechanical stress. The design of the nanostructures was facilitated by extensive numerical simulations and the symmetry lowering was analyzed using group theoretical methods. The nanostructures were fabricated using electron beam lithography and optically characterized for various mechanical stress. The experimental results were in good agreement with the numerical simulations. The mechanically tunable plasmonic nanostructure could serve as a platform for dynamically tunable nanophotonic devices such as sensors and tunable filters.

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