Light-metal interaction on the nanoscale

Published on October 29, 2015

In this video the interaction of femtosecond laser pulses with metallic nanostructures is demonstrated.

Related Video:
Femtosecond dynamics of electronic motion in nanostructures


These light pulses can excite collective electron oscillations within the nanostructure, so called plasmons. By precisely tailoring the nanostructures, light can, e.g., be coupled into plasmonic waveguides and then squeezed into nanometer-sized volumes, much smaller than the diffraction limit of propagating light. Herewith both the spectroscopic investigation and the ultrafast manipulation of single, nanometer-sized objects are possible.
This manipulation is demonstrated in the second part, in which ultrashort light pulses are used to control the propagation of a second light pulse. This plasmonic switch can in principle be orders of magnitude faster than electronic switches.

Lienau Group | University of Oldenburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Christoph Lienau is the head of the “Ultrafast Nano-Optics” group at the University of Oldenburg. It is his interest to probe the motion of charges, spins and nuclei in solid state and biological nanostructures on ultrasmall length and ultrashort time scales. In-depth knowledge about such motions is necessary to decipher the interplay between structure and function of technologically and biologically relevant nanostructures. To gain such knowledge, his group develops, implements and applies spectroscopic techniques providing nanometer spatial and atto- to femtosecond temporal resolution.

Dr. Martin Silies is leader of a junior research group within the Ultrafast Nano-Optics group. The aim of his Research Group funded by the BMBF is the development of a nanometer-sized plasmonic switch with femtosecond switching speed. This switch has the potential to be orders of magnitude faster than any electronic switch. He and his colleagues Heiko Kollmann and Vladimir Smirnov are currently working on the fabrication of nanometer-sized plasmonic objects with sub-10nm spatial precision.

PhD student Martin Esmann is a fellow of the „Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes“. Within his PhD thesis, he and his fellow PhD student Simon Becker built a nanofocusing SNOM setup to perform absorption spectroscopy with 5 nanometer spatial resolution. The underlying process of plasmon nanofocusing leads to the formation of a spectrally broad nano-lightsource at the apex of a conical gold taper, which is isolated in space. Using ultra-short laser pulses for the excitation, the lightsource can also be employed for coherent spectroscopy on the few femtosecond time-scale.


The original research article is published in the Open Access Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry and is part of the Thematic Series Chemistry in flow systems II.

Bou-Hamdan, F. R.; Lévesque, F.; O’Brien, A. G.; Seeberger, P. H., Continuous flow photolysis of aryl azides: Preparation of 3H-azepinones, Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2011, 7, 1124–1129. doi:10.3762/bjoc.7.129

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