Project Overview

NIRT: Opto-Plasmonic Nanoscope

# 0608863
Y. Fainman (Principal Investigator)
Geert Schmid-Schoenbein (Co-Principal Investigator)
Alexander Groisman (Co-Principal Investigator)
Vitaliy Lomakin (Co-Principal Investigator)

Intellectual Merit: This NIRT project focuses on the novel Opto-Plasmonic Nanoscope based on the recently observed transfer of the spatial phase of an ultrashort optical pulse into the phase of the excited surface plasmon polariton (SPP) wave packet. The Opto-Plasmonic Nanoscope resolution is determined by the SPP wavelength, which can be as much as 100 times smaller than the optical field wavelength, supporting resolution <100nm. The goal of this multidisciplinary proposal is to conduct basic research on the excitation, propagation, and detection of ultrashort pulse SPP waves focused to <100 nm, and to investigate effects that arise in the process of linear and nonlinear interaction of the focused SPP with bio-matter (e.g., protein molecules and live cells) attached to the surface. Specific research objectives include (i) excitation of SPP waves using 2D nanostructures for focusing to <100 nm; (ii) investigation of interaction of the SPP waves with various types of bio-matter arranged in different patterns on the surface; (iii) investigation of imaging and detection methods associated with the Opto-Plasmonic Nanoscope; (iv) investigation of label-free detection of protein molecules attached to the surface; (v) investigation of imaging of live cell dynamics on the surface with a resolution <100 nm; and (vi) planning innovative education and outreach projects with the Preuss School on the University of California, San Diego campus.

Broader Impacts: The research on the Opto-Plasmonic Nanoscope advances fundamental understanding and the ability to excite, control, and detect the SPP fields, and understanding of their interaction with biopolymers and live cells that has profound significance for the biomedical imaging. The proposed work will allow application of the SPP waves for advanced nanoscale biochemical, biological and medical imaging, and for sub-wavelength lithography. Innovative education and outreach projects with the Preuss School, designed for students in 6-12 grades coming from disadvantaged households will be carried out.

Source: NSF