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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].

Herzog Plasmonic Nano Optics Lab

Research in the Herzog Plasmonic Nano Optics Lab consists of: See here for more information on these Research Projects and Areas.

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


Jan 2, 2018 - Article published in JM3 - A work led by Stephen Bauman, Fabrication and analysis of metallic nanoslit structures: advancements in the nanomasking method, has been published in the Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS (JM3). Other group members who helped contribute to this work include Ahmad Darweesh and Desalegn Debu. Well done!


Dec 15, 2017 - Article accepted in ACS Photonics - In collaboration with a research team at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC led by Jake Fontana, Dr. Herzog has published an article in ACS Photonics, titled Tunable Subnanometer Gap Plasmonic Metasurfaces. The work investigates centimeter-scale plasmonic metasurfaces with sub-10 nm interparticle gaps, with extreme optical properties, showing that classical models can still accurately predict plasmonic behavior at these size scales. Press release


Oct 18, 2017 - Now Hiring: Postdoctoral Fellow in Plasmonic Nano Optics - I am now hiring a postdoc. If you are interested in working with me, apply online by the 11/30/17 deadline. Please send this info along to those in your group and anyone else who may be qualified and interested in applying.

Postdoctoral Fellow in Plasmonic Nano Optics
Application deadline: 11/30/17


Oct 15, 2017 - Article accepted for publication in Applied Physics Letters - Work by students Ahmad Nusir, Stephen Bauman, and Mohammed Marie titled Silicon nanowires to enhance the performance of self-powered near-infrared photodetectors with asymmetrical Schottky contacts was recently accepted with APL. This work was in collaboration with Ahmad and Mohammed who are graduate student with Dr. Omar Manasreh in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Great job on the hard work!

Principal Investigator
Joseph B. Herzog, PhD

Full Bio

Physics website

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

Nanoslit enhancement in dual-width plasmonic grating.
See S. J. Bauman et al. Sensors, 17(7), 1530 (2017),
and A. A. Darweesh et al. Photonics Research (2016).

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