Enhancing the Light-Matter Interaction with Optical Antennas

By Lukas Novotny

Biomedical Engineering and Physics, University of Rochester

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Optical antennas are devices designed to efficiently convert optical radiation into localized energy, and vice versa. They enhance the interaction between light and matter, and have the potential to boost the efficiency of optoelectronic devices ranging from light-emitting diodes to solar cells. In this presentation I will review the history of optical antennas and demonstrate their use for localizing optical radiation to length-scales much smaller than the wavelength of light. I will discuss experiments that use a single molecule as an elementary receiver and transmitter and demonstrate that the emission efficiency can be controllably increased by two orders of magnitude. I will also discuss the use of optical antennas for high-resolution optical microscopy and spectroscopy and review applications ranging from biology to solid-state physics.


Lukas Novotny Prof. Novotny earned his Dipl. El-Ing (M.S. in Electrical Engineering) in 1992 and his Dr. sc. techn. (Doctor of Technical Sciences) in 1996, both from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. His doctoral research was in close collaboration with the IBM Research Laboratory in Switzerland and dealt with theoretical questions in near-field optics. After three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington, working on new schemes of near-field optical microscopy and single molecule spectroscopy, Prof. Novotny joined the faculty of the Institute of Optics in 1999 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2003 and full Professor in 2007. He holds joint appointments in Physics and Biomedical Engineering. Professor Novotny is the author of "Principles of Nano-Optics", published by Cambridge University Press.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Lukas Novotny (2011), "Enhancing the Light-Matter Interaction with Optical Antennas," https://nanohub.org/resources/11340.

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