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Image Credit: Transforming the Flagship, The University of Arkansas, 13-181 (2014)

Plasmons can be thought of as waves of electrons in a metal surface. More specifically, plasmons are charge density oscillations in a metal or other conductive materials. A light incident on a metal surface can generate plasmons similar to how wind incident on water can generate waves. Light can create plasmons, and the oscillating charges of plasmons can also generate light. The plasmonic-optical interactions give rise to interesting physics at the nanoscale. See also: What is a Plasmon?

Nano-optics or nanophotonics is the study of light on the nanoscale. Typically visible light is limited by the diffraction limit and cannot be focused down to sizes smaller that about half the wavelength of visible light, less than hundreds of nanometers. Nano-optics deals with ways to overcome this diffraction limit in order to manipulate light at scales that are smaller than 100 nm. Plasmonics is one area of nano-optics. Plasmonic nanostructures can focus light to regions that can be less than 10 nm! Additionally, focusing light to such a small, highly-localized volume also generate extremely large optical enhancements in this nanoscale region. These enhancements can be used for applications including single molecule detectors [1], enhanced spectroscopies [2], cancer treatment [3], and more efficient solar cells [4].

See here for description of current Research Projects and Areas.

Interested in being part of the research group? See How to join the Herzog Lab.


Sept 14, 2017 - Cathodoluminescence imaging of plasmonic nanostructures - Stephen's latest results, Plasmonic nanogap structures studied via cathodoluminescence imaging, are now available online in SPIE proceedings. Stephen presented these results at the SPIE Optics + Photonics conference in August.

S. J. Bauman et al., Proc. SPIE 1034607 (2017)


Aug 21, 2017 - Eclipse Outreach - While many traveled to see the total eclipse in Missouri and elsewhere, members of the Arkansas Laserbacks (SPIE/OSA student chapter) and Dr. Herzog provided outreach to students on the first day of classes. He brought a telescope to project the sun on the sidewalk for all to see and take photos of the eclipse. During the peak in Fayetteville, the sun had ~90% coverage, and outside temperatures dropped 3 degrees.

Top: crowd at peak of eclipse, with a subtle dimming of day light. Bottom: Projection of peak (left) partial eclipse on sidewalk using telescope (right).


Aug 10, 2017 - Herzog Group at SPIE - This week members of the Herzog Lab participated in SPIE Optics + Photonics 2017, perhaps the annual conference with the most plasmonic research represented. David participated in the SPIE student leadership workshop, and Stephen presented his work Plasmonic nanogap structures studied via cathodoluminescence imaging.

Dr. Herzog, David, and Stephen at SPIE


Jul 10, 2017 - Herzog appointed faculty fellow at the NRL - Dr. Herzog has been spending his time this summer collaborating with experts in Washington, DC, at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), one of the top research institutes in nanotechnology, as part of the Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Research Program. For more info, read the newswire article about his appointment here.

The Naval Research Laboratory from the Potomac River


Contact Information

Principal Investigator
Joseph B. Herzog, PhD

Physics website

Office: PHYS 229
Office Phone: 5-4909
Lab Phone: 5-6178
Email: jbherzog
Lab: PHYS 106

Figure 1. Computational electromagnetic model of plasmonic structure. Adapted From A. Nusir et al. Photonics Research, Vol 3, 1 (2015).

Department of Physics  |  226 Physics Building  |  825 West Dickson Street  |  Fayetteville, AR 72701
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