The photonic properties of condensed matter depend on the intrinsic properties of its components (molecules, lattice , ... ) but also, as importantly, on their organization at the nanoscale. The realization of model photonic objects with well-controlled nanoscale geometry is an important issue for research in nanophotonics. It is possible to design nanoscale building blocks (molecules, nanoparticles) in such a way that they can spontaneously organize themselves according to a preset pattern. These bottom-up nanotechnologies, called self-assembly, are of great interest in the field of optics and photonics.
A very useful model object in nanophotonics consists of the gap between a tip and a surface, both metallic, that can be obtained in particular using local probe microscopes. Molecular self-assembly allows to insert luminescent or absorbing molecules and to study the interaction with light at the single molecule level, amplified by the plasmon modes.
More generally, molecular self -assembly on atomically-flat surfaces can be at the origin of novel photonic properties, for applications ranging from environmental sensors to miniature lasers.
Finally, using self-assembly substrates more complex than flat surfaces, for example DNA double helices, enables the development of sophisticated nano-objects with highly original photonic properties.
Contact : Fabrice Charra.