In physics, a plasmon is a quantum of plasma oscillation. Just as light (an optical oscillation) consists of photons, the plasma oscillation consists of plasmons. The plasmon can be considered as a quasiparticle since it arises from the quantization of plasma oscillations, just like phonons are quantizations of mechanical vibrations. Thus, plasmons are collective (a discrete number) oscillations of the free electron gas density. For example, at optical frequencies, plasmons can couple with a photon to create another quasiparticle called a plasmon polariton.


The plasmon was initially proposed in 1952 by David Pines and David Bohm[1] and was shown to arise from a Hamiltonian for the long-range electron-electron correlations.[2]

Since plasmons are the quantization of classical plasma oscillations, most of their properties can be derived directly from Maxwell's equations.[3]


Plasmons can be described in the classical picture as an oscillation of electron density with respect to the fixed positive ions in a metal. To visualize a plasma oscillation, imagine a cube of metal placed in an external electric field pointing to the right. Electrons will move to the left side (uncovering positive ions on the right side) until they cancel the field inside the metal. If the electric field is removed, the electrons move to the right, repelled by each other and attracted to the positive ions left bare on the right side. They oscillate back and forth at the plasma frequency until the energy is lost in some kind of resistance or damping. Plasmons are a quantization of this kind of oscillation.


Plasmons play a large role in the optical properties of metals and semiconductors. Light of frequencies below the plasma frequency is reflected by a material because the electrons in the material screen the electric field of the light. Light of frequencies above the plasma frequency is transmitted by a material because the electrons in the material cannot respond fast enough to screen it. In most metals, the plasma frequency is in the ultraviolet, making them shiny (reflective) in the visible range. Some metals, such as copper[4] and gold,[5] have electronic interband transitions in the visible range, whereby specific light energies (colors) are absorbed, yielding their distinct color. In semiconductors, the valence electron plasmon frequency is usually in the deep ultraviolet, while their electronic interband transitions are in the visible range, whereby specific light energies (colors) are absorbed, yielding their distinct color[6][7] which is why they are reflective. It has been shown that the plasmon frequency may occur in the mid-infrared and near-infrared region when semiconductors are in the form of nanoparticles with heavy doping.[8][9]

The plasmon energy can often be estimated in the free electron model as

where is the conduction electron density, is the elementary charge, is the electron mass, the permittivity of free space, the reduced Planck constant and the plasmon frequency.

Surface plasmons

Surface plasmons are those plasmons that are confined to surfaces and that interact strongly with light resulting in a polariton.[10] They occur at the interface of a material exhibiting positive real part of their relative permittivity, i.e. dielectric constant, (e.g. vacuum, air, glass and other dielectrics) and a material whose real part of permittivity is negative at the given frequency of light, typically a metal or heavily doped semiconductors. In addition to opposite sign of the real part of the permittivity, the magnitude of the real part of the permittivity in the negative permittivity region should typically be larger than the magnitude of the permittivity in the positive permittivity region, otherwise the light is not bound to the surface (i.e. the surface plasmons do not exist) as shown in the famous book by Raether.[11] At visible wavelengths of light, e.g. 632.8 nm wavelength provided by a He-Ne laser, interfaces supporting surface plasmons are often formed by metals like silver or gold (negative real part permittivity) in contact with dielectrics such as air or silicon dioxide. The particular choice of materials can have a drastic effect on the degree of light confinement and propagation distance due to losses. Surface plasmons can also exist on interfaces other than flat surfaces, such as particles, or rectangular strips, v-grooves, cylinders, and other structures. Many structures have been investigated due to the capability of surface plasmons to confine light below the diffraction limit of light.

Surface plasmons can play a role in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and in explaining anomalies in diffraction from metal gratings (Wood's anomaly), among other things. Surface plasmon resonance is used by biochemists to study the mechanisms and kinetics of ligands binding to receptors (i.e. a substrate binding to an enzyme). Multi-parametric surface plasmon resonance can be used not only to measure molecular interactions but also nanolayer properties or structural changes in the adsorbed molecules, polymer layers or graphene, for instance.

Surface plasmons may also be observed in the X-ray emission spectra of metals. A dispersion relation for surface plasmons in the X-ray emission spectra of metals has been derived (Harsh and Agarwal).[12]

Gothic stained glass rose window of Notre-Dame de Paris. Some colors were achieved by colloids of gold nano-particles.

More recently surface plasmons have been used to control colors of materials.[13] This is possible since controlling the particle's shape and size determines the types of surface plasmons that can couple to it and propagate across it. This, in turn, controls the interaction of light with the surface. These effects are illustrated by the historic stained glass which adorn medieval cathedrals. Some stained glass colors are produced by metal nanoparticles of a fixed size which interact with the optical field to give glass a vibrant red color. In modern science, these effects have been engineered for both visible light and microwave radiation. Much research goes on first in the microwave range because at this wavelength material surfaces can be produced mechanically as the patterns tend to be on the order of a few centimeters. To produce optical range surface plasmon effects involves producing surfaces which have features <400 nm. This is much more difficult and has only recently become possible to do in any reliable or available way.

Recently, graphene has also been shown to accommodate surface plasmons, observed via near field infrared optical microscopy techniques[14][15] and infrared spectroscopy.[16] Potential applications of graphene plasmonics mainly addressed the terahertz to midinfrared frequencies, such as optical modulators, photodetectors, biosensors.[17]

Possible applications

The position and intensity of plasmon absorption and emission peaks are affected by molecular adsorption, which can be used in molecular sensors. For example, a fully operational device detecting casein in milk has been prototyped, based on detecting a change in absorption of a gold layer.[18] Localized surface plasmons of metal nanoparticles can be used for sensing different types of molecules, proteins, etc.

Plasmons are being considered as a means of transmitting information on computer chips, since plasmons can support much higher frequencies (into the 100 THz range, whereas conventional wires become very lossy in the tens of GHz). However, for plasmon-based electronics to be practical, a plasmon-based amplifier analogous to the transistor, called a plasmonstor, needs to be created.[19]

Plasmons have also been proposed as a means of high-resolution lithography and microscopy due to their extremely small wavelengths; both of these applications have seen successful demonstrations in the lab environment.

Finally, surface plasmons have the unique capacity to confine light to very small dimensions, which could enable many new applications.

Surface plasmons are very sensitive to the properties of the materials on which they propagate. This has led to their use to measure the thickness of monolayers on colloid films, such as screening and quantifying protein binding events. Companies such as Biacore have commercialized instruments that operate on these principles. Optical surface plasmons are being investigated with a view to improve makeup by L'Oréal and others.[20]

In 2009, a Korean research team found a way to greatly improve organic light-emitting diode efficiency with the use of plasmons.[21]

A group of European researchers led by IMEC has begun work to improve solar cell efficiencies and costs through incorporation of metallic nanostructures (using plasmonic effects) that can enhance absorption of light into different types of solar cells: crystalline silicon (c-Si), high-performance III-V, organic, and dye-sensitized. [22] However, for plasmonic photovoltaic devices to function optimally, ultra-thin transparent conducting oxides are necessary.[23] Full color holograms using plasmonics[24] have been demonstrated.


Plasmon-Soliton mathematically refers to the hybrid solution of nonlinear amplitude equation e.g. for a metal-nonlinear media considering both the plasmon mode and solitary solution. A soliplasmon resonance is on the other hand considered as a quasiparticle combining the surface plasmon mode with spatial soliton as a result of a resonant interaction.[25] [26] [27] [28] To achieve one dimensional solitary propagation in a plasmonic waveguide while the surface plasmons should be localized at the interface, the lateral distribution of the filed envelop should also be unchanged.
Graphene-based waveguide is a suitable platform for supporting hybrid plasmon-solitons due to the large effective area and huge nonlinearity.[29] For example, the propagation of solitary waves in a graphene-dielectric heterostructure may appear as in the form of higher order solitons or discrete solitons resulting from the competition between diffraction and nonlinearity.[30] [31]

See also


  1. ^ David Pines, David Bohm: A Collective Description of Electron Interactions: II. Collective vs Individual Particle Aspects of the Interactions, Phys. Rev. 85, 338, 15 January 1952. Cited after: Dror Sarid; William Challener (6 May 2010). Modern Introduction to Surface Plasmons: Theory, Mathematica Modeling, and Applications. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-521-76717-0.
  2. ^ David Bohm, David Pines (1 November 1953). "Coulomb Interactions in a Degenerate Electron Gas". Phys. Rev. A Collective Description of Electron Interactions: III. 92 (3): 609–625. Bibcode:1953PhRv...92..609B. doi:10.1103/physrev.92.609. Cited after: N. J. Shevchik (1974). "Alternative derivation of the Bohm-Pines theory of electron-electron interactions". J. Phys. C: Solid State Phys. 7 (21): 3930–3936. Bibcode:1974JPhC....7.3930S. doi:10.1088/0022-3719/7/21/013.
  3. ^ Jackson, J. D. (1975) [1962]. "10.8 Plasma Oscillations". Classical Electrodynamics (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-30932-1. OCLC 535998.
  4. ^ Burdick, Glenn (1963). "Energy Band Structure of Copper". Physical Review. 129 (1): 138–150. Bibcode:1963PhRv..129..138B. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.129.138.
  5. ^ S.Zeng; et al. (2011). "A review on functionalized gold nanoparticles for biosensing applications". Plasmonics. 6 (3): 491–506. doi:10.1007/s11468-011-9228-1.
  6. ^ Kittel, C. (2005). Introduction to Solid State Physics (8th ed.). John Wiley & Sons. p. 403, table 2.
  7. ^ Böer, K. W. (2002). Survey of Semiconductor Physics. 1 (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons. p. 525.
  8. ^ Xin Liu; Mark T. Swihart (2014). "Heavily-doped colloidal semiconductor and metal oxide nanocrystals: an emerging new class of plasmonic nanomaterials". Chem. Soc. Rev. 43 (11): 3908–3920. doi:10.1039/c3cs60417a. PMID 24566528.
  9. ^ Xiaodong Pi, Christophe Delerue (2013). "Tight-binding calculations of the optical response of optimally P-doped Si nanocrystals: a model for localized surface plasmon resonance". Physical Review Letters. 111 (17): 177402. Bibcode:2013PhRvL.111q7402P. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.177402. PMID 24206519.
  10. ^ Zeng, Shuwen; Yu, Xia; Law, Wing-Cheung; Zhang, Yating; et al. (2013). "Size dependence of Au NP-enhanced surface plasmon resonance based on differential phase measurement". Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. 176: 1128–1133. doi:10.1016/j.snb.2012.09.073.
  11. ^ Raether, Heinz (1988). Surface Plasmons on Smooth and Rough Surfaces and on Gratings. Springer. p. 119. ISBN 978-3540173632.
  12. ^ Harsh, O. K; Agarwal, B. K (1988). "Surface plasmon dispersion relation in the X-ray emission spectra of a semi-infinite rectangular metal bounded by a plane". Physica B+C. 150 (3): 378–384. Bibcode:1988PhyBC.150..378H. doi:10.1016/0378-4363(88)90078-2.
  13. ^ "LEDs work like butterflies' wings". BBC News. November 18, 2005. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  14. ^ Jianing Chen, Michela Badioli, Pablo Alonso-González, Sukosin Thongrattanasiri, Florian Huth, Johann Osmond, Marko Spasenović, Alba Centeno, Amaia Pesquera, Philippe Godignon, Amaia Zurutuza Elorza, Nicolas Camara, F. Javier García de Abajo, Rainer Hillenbrand, Frank H. L. Koppens (5 July 2012). "Optical nano-imaging of gate-tunable graphene plasmons". Nature. 487 (7405): 77–81. arXiv:1202.4996. Bibcode:2012Natur.487...77C. doi:10.1038/nature11254. PMID 22722861.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^ Z. Fei, A. S. Rodin, G. O. Andreev, W. Bao, A. S. McLeod, M. Wagner, L. M. Zhang, Z. Zhao, M. Thiemens, G. Dominguez, M. M. Fogler, A. H. Castro Neto, C. N. Lau, F. Keilmann, D. N. Basov (5 July 2012). "Gate-tuning of graphene plasmons revealed by infrared nano-imaging". Nature. 487 (7405): 82–85. arXiv:1202.4993. Bibcode:2012Natur.487...82F. doi:10.1038/nature11253. PMID 22722866.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  16. ^ Hugen Yan, Tony Low, Wenjuan Zhu, Yanqing Wu, Marcus Freitag, Xuesong Li, Francisco Guinea, Phaedon Avouris, Fengnian Xia (2013). "Damping pathways of mid-infrared plasmons in graphene nanostructures". Nature Photonics. 7 (5): 394–399. arXiv:1209.1984. Bibcode:2013NaPho...7..394Y. doi:10.1038/nphoton.2013.57.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  17. ^ Tony Low, Phaedon Avouris (2014). "Graphene Plasmonics for Terahertz to Mid-Infrared Applications". ACS Nano. 8 (2): 1086–1101. arXiv:1403.2799. doi:10.1021/nn406627u. PMID 24484181.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  18. ^ Heip, H. M.; et al. (2007). "A localized surface plasmon resonance based immunosensor for the detection of casein in milk". Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. 8 (4): 331–338. Bibcode:2007STAdM...8..331M. doi:10.1016/j.stam.2006.12.010.
  19. ^ Lewotsky, Kristin (2007). "The Promise of Plasmonics". SPIE Professional. doi:10.1117/2.4200707.07.
  20. ^ "The L'Oréal Art & Science of Color Prize – 7th Prize Winners".
  21. ^ "Prof. Choi Unveils Method to Improve Emission Efficiency of OLED". KAIST. 9 July 2009. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011.
  22. ^ "EU partners eye metallic nanostructures for solar cells". ElectroIQ. 30 March 2010. Archived from the original on 8 March 2011.
  23. ^ Gwamuri et al. (2015). "Limitations of ultra-thin transparent conducting oxides for integration into plasmonic-enhanced thin-film solar photovoltaic devices". Materials for Renewable and Sustainable Energy. 4 (12). doi:10.1007/s40243-015-0055-8.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  24. ^ Kawata, Satoshi. "New technique lights up the creation of holograms". Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  25. ^ Ferrando, Albert. "Nonlinear plasmonic amplification via dissipative soliton-plasmon resonances." Physical Review A 95.1 (2017): 013816.
  26. ^ Feigenbaum, Eyal, and Meir Orenstein. "Plasmon-soliton." Optics letters 32.6 (2007): 674-676.
  27. ^ Milián, C., et al. "Soliton-plasmon resonances as Maxwell nonlinear bound states." Optics letters 37.20 (2012): 4221-4223.
  28. ^ Bliokh, Konstantin Y., Yury P. Bliokh, and Albert Ferrando. "Resonant plasmon-soliton interaction." Physical Review A 79.4 (2009): 041803.
  29. ^ Nesterov, Maxim L., et al. "Graphene supports the propagation of subwavelength optical solitons." Laser & Photonics Reviews 7.2 (2013): L7-L11.
  30. ^ Bludov, Yu V., et al. "Discrete solitons in graphene metamaterials." Physical Review B 91.4 (2015): 045424.
  31. ^ Sharif, Morteza A. "Spatio-temporal modulation instability of surface plasmon polaritons in graphene-dielectric heterostructure." Physica E: Low-dimensional Systems and Nanostructures 105 (2019): 174-181.


External links

Conformation–activity relationship

The conformation–activity relationship is the relationship between the biological activity and the chemical structure or conformational changes of a biomolecule. This terminology emphasizes the importance of dynamic conformational changes for the biological function, rather than the importance of static three-dimensional structure used in the analysis of structure activity relationships.The conformational changes usually take place during intermolecular association, such as protein–protein interaction or protein–ligand binding. A binding partner changes the conformation of a biomolecule (e.g. a protein) to enable or disable its biochemical activity.

Methods for analysis of conformation activity relationship vary from in silico or using experimental methods such as X-ray crystallography and NMR where the conformation before and after activity can be compared statically or using dynamic methods such as multi-parametric surface plasmon resonance, dual polarisation interferometry or circular dichroism where the kinetics as well as degree of conformational change can be quantified.

Extraordinary optical transmission

Extraordinary optical transmission (EOT) is the phenomenon of greatly enhanced transmission of light through a subwavelength aperture in an otherwise opaque metallic film which has been patterned with a regularly repeating periodic structure. Generally when light of a certain wavelength falls on a subwavelength aperture, it is diffracted isotropically in all directions evenly, with minimal far-field transmission. This is the understanding from classical aperture theory as described by Bethe. In EOT however, the regularly repeating structure enables much higher transmission efficiency to occur, up to several orders of magnitude greater than that predicted by classical aperture theory. It was first described in 1998.This phenomenon that was fully analyzed with a microscopic scattering model is partly attributed to the presence of surface plasmon resonances and constructive interference. A surface plasmon (SP) is a collective excitation of the electrons at the junction between a conductor and an insulator and is one of a series of interactions between light and a metal surface called Plasmonics.

Currently, there is experimental evidence of EOT out of the optical range. Analytical approaches also predict EOT on perforated plates with a perfect conductor model. Holes can somewhat emulate plasmons at other regions of the electromagnetic spectrum where they do not exist. Then, the plasmonic contribution is a very particular peculiarity of the EOT resonance and should not be taken as the main contribution to the phenomenon. More recent work has shown a strong contribution from overlapping evanescent wave coupling, which explains why surface plasmon resonance enhances the EOT effect on both sides of a metallic film at optical frequencies, but accounts for the terahertz-range transmission.

Simple analytical explanations of this phenomenon have been elaborated, emphasizing the similarity between arrays of particles and arrays of holes, and establishing that the phenomenon is dominated by diffraction.

Localized surface plasmon

A localized surface plasmon (LSP) is the result of the confinement of a surface plasmon in a nanoparticle of size comparable to or smaller than the wavelength of light used to excite the plasmon. The LSP has two important effects: electric fields near the particle’s surface are greatly enhanced and the particle’s optical absorption has a maximum at the plasmon resonant frequency. The enhancement falls off quickly with distance from the surface and, for noble metal nanoparticles, the resonance occurs at visible wavelengths. For semiconductor nanoparticles, the maximum optical absorption is often in the near-infrared and mid-infrared region.

Multi-parametric surface plasmon resonance

Multi-parametric surface plasmon resonance (MP-SPR) is based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR), an established real-time label-free method for biomolecular interaction analysis, but it uses a different optical setup, a goniometric SPR configuration. While MP-SPR provides same kinetic information as SPR (equilibrium constant, dissociation constant, association constant), it provides also structural information (refractive index, layer thickness). Hence, MP-SPR measures both surface interactions and nanolayer properties.


Nanophotonics or nano-optics is the study of the behavior of light on the nanometer scale, and of the interaction of nanometer-scale objects with light. It is a branch of optics, optical engineering, electrical engineering, and nanotechnology. It often (but not exclusively) involves metallic components, which can transport and focus light via surface plasmon polaritons.

The term "nano-optics", just like the term "optics", usually refers to situations involving ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light (free-space wavelengths from 300 to 1200 nanometers).


A nanoshell, or rather a nanoshell plasmon, is a type of spherical nanoparticle consisting of a dielectric core which is covered by a thin metallic shell (usually gold). These nanoshells involve a quasiparticle called a plasmon which is a collective excitation or quantum plasma oscillation where the electrons simultaneously oscillate with respect to all the ions.

The simultaneous oscillation can be called plasmon hybridization where the tunability of the oscillation is associated with mixture of the inner and outer shell where they hybridize to give a lower energy or higher energy. This lower energy couples strongly to incident light, whereas the higher energy is an anti-bonding and weakly combines to incident light. The hybridization interaction is stronger for thinner shell layers, hence, the thickness of the shell and overall particle radius determines which wavelength of light it couples with. Nanoshells can be varied across a broad range of the light spectrum that spans the visible and near infrared regions. The interaction of light and nanoparticles affects the placement of charges which affects the coupling strength. Incident light polarized parallel to the substrate gives a s-polarization (Figure 1b), hence the charges are further from the substrate surface which gives a stronger interaction between the shell and core. Otherwise, a p-polarization is formed which gives a more strongly shifted plasmon energy causing a weaker interaction and coupling.

Plasma oscillation

Plasma oscillations, also known as Langmuir waves (after Irving Langmuir), are rapid oscillations of the electron density in conducting media such as plasmas or metals in the ultraviolet region. The oscillations can be described as an instability in the dielectric function of a free electron gas. The frequency only depends weakly on the wavelength of the oscillation. The quasiparticle resulting from the quantization of these oscillations is the plasmon.

Langmuir waves were discovered by American physicists Irving Langmuir and Lewi Tonks in the 1920s. They are parallel in form to Jeans instability waves, which are caused by gravitational instabilities in a static medium.


In physics, a plasmaron is a quasiparticle arising in a system that has strong plasmon-electron interactions. It is a quasiparticle formed by quasiparticle-quasiparticle interactions, since both plasmons and electron holes are collective modes of different kinds. It has recently been observed in graphene and earlier in elemental bismuth.

Plasmonic solar cell

A plasmonic-enhanced solar cell, commonly referred to simply as plasmonic solar cell, is a type of solar cell (including thin-film, crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, and other types of cells) that converts light into electricity with the assistance of plasmons, but where the photovoltaic effect occurs in another material.

A direct plasmonic solar cell is a solar cell that converts light into electricity using plasmons as the active, photovoltaic material.

The thickness varies from that of traditional silicon PV

, to less than 2 μm thick and theoretically could be as thin as 100 nm. They can use substrates which are cheaper than silicon, such as glass, plastic or steel. One of the challenges for thin film solar cells is that they do not absorb as much light as thicker solar cells made with materials with the same absorption coefficient. Methods for light trapping are important for thin film solar cells. Plasmonic-enhanced cells improve absorption by scattering light using metal nano-particles excited at their surface plasmon resonance. Interestingly, plasmonic core-shell nanoparticles located in the front of the thin film solar cells can aid weak absorption of Si solar cells in the near-infrared region—the fraction of light scattered into the substrate and the maximum optical path length enhancement can be as high as 0.999 and 3133. Incoming light at the plasmon resonance frequency induces electron oscillations at the surface of the nanoparticles. The oscillation electrons can then be captured by a conductive layer producing an electrical current. The voltage produced is dependent on the bandgap of the conductive layer and the potential of the electrolyte in contact with the nanoparticles. There is still considerable research necessary to enable the technology to reach its full potential and commercialization of plasmonic-enhanced solar cells.

Plazma biscuit

Plazma biscuit is a biscuit made by Serbian food company Bambi. The Plazma biscuit recipe was originally based on the Italian plasmon biscuits made by the Plasmon Society (now owned by the H. J. Heinz Company). Plazma biscuits have been made in Serbia since 1967.

Raman spectroscopy

Raman spectroscopy (); named after Indian physicist Sir C. V. Raman) is a spectroscopic technique used to observe vibrational, rotational, and other low-frequency modes in a system. Raman spectroscopy is commonly used in chemistry to provide a structural fingerprint by which molecules can be identified.

It relies on inelastic scattering, or Raman scattering, of monochromatic light, usually from a laser in the visible, near infrared, or near ultraviolet range. The laser light interacts with molecular vibrations, phonons or other excitations in the system, resulting in the energy of the laser photons being shifted up or down. The shift in energy gives information about the vibrational modes in the system. Infrared spectroscopy yields similar, but complementary, information.

Typically, a sample is illuminated with a laser beam. Electromagnetic radiation from the illuminated spot is collected with a lens and sent through a monochromator. Elastic scattered radiation at the wavelength corresponding to the laser line (Rayleigh scattering) is filtered out by either a notch filter, edge pass filter, or a band pass filter, while the rest of the collected light is dispersed onto a detector.

Spontaneous Raman scattering is typically very weak, and as a result the main difficulty of Raman spectroscopy is separating the weak inelastically scattered light from the intense Rayleigh scattered laser light. Historically, Raman spectrometers used holographic gratings and multiple dispersion stages to achieve a high degree of laser rejection. In the past, photomultipliers were the detectors of choice for dispersive Raman setups, which resulted in long acquisition times. However, modern instrumentation almost universally employs notch or edge filters for laser rejection and spectrographs either axial transmissive (AT), Czerny–Turner (CT) monochromator, or FT (Fourier transform spectroscopy based), and CCD detectors.

The advanced types of Raman spectroscopy include surface-enhanced Raman, resonance Raman, tip-enhanced Raman, polarized Raman, stimulated Raman (analogous to stimulated emission), transmission Raman, spatially offset Raman, and hyper Raman.


A spaser or plasmonic laser is a type of laser which aims to confine light at a subwavelength scale far below Rayleigh's diffraction limit of light, by storing some of the light energy in electron oscillations called surface plasmon polaritons. The phenomenon was first described by Bergman and Stockman in 2003. The word spaser is an acronym for "surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". The first such devices were announced in 2009 by three groups: a 44-nanometer-diameter nanoparticle with a gold core surrounded by a dyed silica gain medium created by researchers from Purdue, Norfolk State and Cornell universities, a nanowire on a silver screen by a Berkeley group, and a semiconductor layer of 90 nm surrounded by silver pumped electrically by groups at Technical University of Eindhoven and at Arizona State University. While the Purdue-Norfolk State-Cornell team demonstrated the confined plasmonic mode, the Berkeley team and the Eindhoven-Arizona State team demonstrated lasing in the so-called plasmonic gap mode.

The spaser is a proposed nanoscale source of optical fields that is being investigated in a number of leading laboratories around the world. Spasers could find a wide range of applications, including nanoscale lithography, fabrication of ultra-fast photonic nano circuits, single-molecule biochemical sensing, and microscopy.

From Nature Photonics:

A spaser is the nanoplasmonic counterpart of a laser, but it (ideally) does not emit photons. It is analogous to the conventional laser, but in a spaser photons are replaced by surface plasmons and the resonant cavity is replaced by a nanoparticle, which supports the plasmonic modes. Similarly to a laser, the energy source for the spasing mechanism is an active (gain) medium that is excited externally. This excitation field may be optical and unrelated to the spaser’s operating frequency; for instance, a spaser can operate in the near-infrared but the excitation of the gain medium can be achieved using an ultraviolet pulse.

The reason that surface plasmons in a spaser can work analogously to photons in a laser is that their relevant physical properties are the same. First, surface plasmons are bosons: they are vector excitations and have spin 1, just as photons do. Second, surface plasmons are electrically neutral excitations. And third, surface plasmons are the most collective material oscillations known in nature, which implies they are the most harmonic (that is, they interact very weakly with one another). As such, surface plasmons can undergo stimulated emission, accumulating in a single mode in large numbers, which is the physical foundation of both the laser and the spaser.

Study of the quantum mechanical model of the spaser suggests that it should be possible to manufacture a spasing device analogous in function to the MOSFET transistor, but this has not yet been experimentally verified.

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy or surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a surface-sensitive technique that enhances Raman scattering by molecules adsorbed on rough metal surfaces or by nanostructures such as plasmonic-magnetic silica nanotubes. The enhancement factor can be as much as 1010 to 1011, which means the technique may detect single molecules.

Surface plasmon

Surface plasmons (SPs) are coherent delocalized electron oscillations that exist at the interface between any two materials where the real part of the dielectric function changes sign across the interface (e.g. a metal-dielectric interface, such as a metal sheet in air). SPs have lower energy than bulk (or volume) plasmons which quantise the longitudinal electron oscillations about positive ion cores within the bulk of an electron gas (or plasma).

The charge motion in a surface plasmon always creates electromagnetic fields outside (as well as inside) the metal. The total excitation, including both the charge motion and associated electromagnetic field, is called either a surface plasmon polariton at a planar interface, or a localized surface plasmon for the closed surface of a small particle.

The existence of surface plasmons was first predicted in 1957 by Rufus Ritchie. In the following two decades, surface plasmons were extensively studied by many scientists, the foremost of whom were T. Turbadar in the 1950s and 1960s, and Heinz Raether, E. Kretschmann, and A. Otto in the 1960s and 1970s. Information transfer in nanoscale structures, similar to photonics, by means of surface plasmons, is referred to as plasmonics.

Surface plasmon polariton

Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) are infrared or visible-frequency electromagnetic waves that travel along a metal–dielectric or metal–air interface. The term "surface plasmon polariton" explains that the wave involves both charge motion in the metal ("surface plasmon") and electromagnetic waves in the air or dielectric ("polariton").They are a type of surface wave, guided along the interface in much the same way that light can be guided by an optical fiber. SPPs are shorter in wavelength than the incident light (photons). Hence, SPPs can have tighter spatial confinement and higher local field intensity. Perpendicular to the interface, they have subwavelength-scale confinement. An SPP will propagate along the interface until its energy is lost either to absorption in the metal or scattering into other directions (such as into free space).

Application of SPPs enables subwavelength optics in microscopy and lithography beyond the diffraction limit. It also enables the first steady-state micro-mechanical measurement of a fundamental property of light itself: the momentum of a photon in a dielectric medium. Other applications are photonic data storage, light generation, and bio-photonics.

Surface plasmon resonance

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is the resonant oscillation of conduction electrons at the interface between negative and positive permittivity material stimulated by incident light. SPR is the basis of many standard tools for measuring adsorption of material onto planar metal (typically gold or silver) surfaces or onto the surface of metal nanoparticles. It is the fundamental principle behind many color-based biosensor applications, different lab-on-a-chip sensors and diatom photosynthesis.

Surface plasmon resonance microscopy

Surface plasmon resonance microscopy (SPRM), also called surface plasmon resonance imaging (SPRI), is a label free analytical tool that combines the surface plasmon resonance of metallic surfaces with imaging of the metallic surface.

The heterogeneity of the refractive index of the metallic surface imparts high contrast images, caused by the shift in the resonance angle.

SPRM can achieve a thickness sensitivity of few tenths of nanometer and lateral resolution achieves values of micrometer scale.

SPRM is used to characterize surfaces such as self-assembled monolayers, multilayer films, metal nanoparticles, oligonucleotide arrays, and binding and reduction reactions.

Surface plasmon polaritons are surface electromagnetic waves coupled to oscillating free electrons of a metallic surface that propagate along a metal/dielectric interface.

Since polaritons are highly sensitive to small changes in the refractive index of the metallic material,

it can be used as a biosensing tool that does not require labeling. SPRM measurements can be made in real-time.

Wang and collaborators studied the binding kinetics of membrane proteins in single cells.

Surface wave

In physics, a surface wave is a 90 degree wave that propagates along the interface between differing media. A common example is gravity waves along the surface of liquids, such as ocean waves. Gravity waves can also occur within liquids, at the interface between two fluids with different densities. Elastic surface waves can travel along the surface of solids, such as Rayleigh or Love waves. Electromagnetic waves can also propagate as "surface waves" in that they can be guided along a refractive index gradient or along an interface between two media having different dielectric constants. In radio transmission, a ground wave is a guided wave that propagates close to the surface of the Earth.

Ultra Density Optical

Ultra Density Optical (UDO) is an optical disc format designed for high-density storage of high-definition video and data.

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