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.

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June 10, 2014 - Another abstract accepted at SPIE conference - Avery's paper titled Computational electromagnetic study of plasmonic effects in interdigital arrays has been accepted and he will present in San Diego in August at SPIE Optics + Photonics.

May 19, 2014 - Summer begins with new lab members - Paul Nguyen and Eric Novak join Herzog Lab. Welcome to the group, we are glad to have you as members.

May 14, 2014 - Nanogap - Successful on first try, ~10 nm gap! Great work Stephen and Desalegn!

May 7, 2014 - End of Year Lunch! - Today the Herzog Lab went out for lunch to celebrate a successful school year.

May 1, 2014 - Self-Aligned and test Patterns by Stephen and Desalegn - (Top Left) Alignment marks with first lithography step patterned with Cr-oxide layer ready to create nanogaps. (Bottom) Test patterns of 100 nm wide nanowires with variable spacing. The wires merge into one thicker wire as the spacing decreases. This tests the spacing limit for such nanowires.

April 23, 2014 - Group members honored at 2014 State and National Awards Ceremony - Congrats to all on the hard work!
  • Jonathan Mishler - 2014 Goldwater Scholarship Honorable mention
  • Jonathan Mishler - 2014 State Undergraduate Research Fellowship
  • Gabrielle Abraham - 2014 NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates
  • Cameron Saylor - 2014 NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates
  • Dr. Joseph Herzog - 2014 Outstanding Mentor, Office of Nationally Competitive Awards

April 16, 2014 - Article on Mishler's Goldwater honor - Jonathan Mishler recognized by the University of Arkansas for his Goldwater Honorable mention achievement in local news article. As a native of Texas, Jonathan was selected for this honor from a pool of all STEM applicants who are also natives of Texas.

April 14, 2014 - Papers accepted for presentation at SPIE conference - Bauman, Mishler, Debu, and Avery's work will be presented this August 19-20 at the SPIE Optics + Photonics symposium in San Diego, California. Bauman will present on Optical nanogap matrices for plasmonic enhancement applications, and Mishler will present on his work: Diatom frustule photonic crystal geometric and optical characterization

Contact Information

Principal Investigator
Joseph B. Herzog, PhD

Physics website

Office: PHYS 237
Phone: 5-4217
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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Last Update: Fall 2013