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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.


December 12, 2014 - Avery's article has been published. - Avery's work modeling the plasmonic properties of photodetectors has been accepted for publication and is now available online. Congrats on his hard work and the work of our collaborators Ahmad and Dr. Manasreh.

November 24, 2014 - Jonathan Mishler awarded SURF Award - Jonathan Mishler has been chosen as a recipient of the Student Undergraduate Reserach Fellowship (SURF) program for Spring 2015 on his work studying the optical properties of Diatoms. The SURF program is funded by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

November 20, 2014 - Dr. Herzog awarded Collaborative Research Grant - In collaboration with Dr. Alverson in Biological Sciences, Dr. Herzog was awarded the Collaborative Research Grant. The title of the project is Biomimetic Photonic Crystals based on the Silicon Cell Walls of Diatom Algae. Thanks to senior undergraduate, Jon Mishler, for all of his hard work on this project.

November 8, 2014 - Successful INBRE conference - In addition to Avery Placing first for his presentation. Other members in the group also had successful presentation: Saeed, Desalegn, Stephen, and Dr. Herzog. Photos of the event are posted here.

November 8, 2014 - Avery wins first place oral presentation! - Junior undergraduate, Avery Hill, wins first place oral presentation. He presented his work that analyzed the optical and plasmonic properties of metal-semiconductor-metal photodetectors. A special thanks to our collaborators on this project: Ahmad Nusir and Dr. Manasreh in the Electrical Engineering department.

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.

Department of Physics  |  226 Physics Building  |  825 West Dickson Street  |  Fayetteville, AR 72701
Phone: (479) 575-2506  |  Fax: (479) 575-4580  |  email:
Last Update: Fall 2013