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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.


July 7, 2015 - Bauman awarded SPIE scholarship - Congrats to Stephen Bauman who has been awarded the 2015 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship from SPIE. Here is SPIE press release, and here is a link to the University of Arkansas Newswire article.

June 23, 2015 - Herzog awarded ABI grant - Dr. Herzog's proposal titled Large-area production of plasmonic nanostructures for enhanced biomedical spectroscopic sensors has been awarded a grant funded by the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, the major research component of the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000.

June 22, 2015 - Bauman passes masters thesis defense - Congrats to Stephen Bauman on his hard work. He has passed his Master Thesis defense!

May 18, 2015 - REU students join group for the summer - Two students will be working in the Herzog lab this summer as NSF REU students. Grant Abbey joins the group from Mississippi State University, and Gabi Abraham will be continuing from here (the U of A).

May 9, 2015 - French earns Masters! - David French graduates with Master's Degree. Congrats to David on this accomplishment!

May 8, 2015 - Cameron graduates with Honors - Cameron Saylor has received his Bachelor's degree and graduated with honors. He will be starting graduate school in the Fall at UC Davis.!

May 1, 2015 - Herzog Group end-of-the-year brunch - To celebrate a successful year, the Herzog lab enjoys a brunch. Thank you students for all of the hard work.

Group Members from left to right: Stephen, David, Saeed, Avery, Cameron, Gabi, Dr. Herzog

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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