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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 joining the group? How to join my Research Group.


March 2-6, 2015 - Herzog group members at APS - Some members of the Herzog Lab presented their current research at the APS March Meeting. Note: Jonathan Mishler was also there and presented, but missed the photo op.

David, Desalegn, Cameron, Dr. Herzog, Eric

March 1, 2015 - Jonathan Mishler selected for NIH post baccalaureate - Jonathan Mishler, undergraduate researcher in the Herzog Lab has been selected for the Postbaccalaureate IRTA program at the National Institutes of Health. Congrats!

February 28, 2015 - Desalegn Passes Candidacy Exams - Desalegn's hard studying has paid off. Congrats on passing the Physics Candidacy Exam!

February 16 - 17,, 2015 - Mardi Gras Snow Day - Second year in a row that classes are canceled during Mardi Gras. University closed, and experimental research halted. :/
Feb 16 (closed all day), Feb 17, Feb 24, Mar 4, and Mar 5 (day partially canceled).
Winter 2014-2015 snow day count: 3.0

January 26, 2015 - Hill awarded second Honors College Research Grant - Avery Hill has been awarded his second honors college research grant. The new grant will fund Avery's research this Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 on plasmonic photodetectors.

Contact Information

Principal Investigator
Joseph B. Herzog, PhD

Physics website

Office: PHYS 237
Office Phone: 5-4217
Lab Phone: 5-2007
Email: jbherzog
Lab: PHYS 245

Figure 1. Computational electromagnetic model of plasmonic nanogap array. Large optical enhancement can be seen at the nanoscale gap.

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