Plasmonics and nanophotonics are currently considered future milestones of traditional light science. Nanophotonics is where photonics merges with nanoscience and nanotechnology, and where spatial confinement dominates light propagation and light-matter interaction. Plasmonics in particular is related to the use of metal nanostructures with subwavelength dimension to control light behaviour on the nanometric scale. Light interaction with conducting electron density of metals or semiconductors enhances specific features which lead to advanced spectroscopies with unprecedented sensitivity or imaging systems beyond the diffraction limit.
In the European frame, where photonics is recognized as one of the six Key Enabling Technologies for competition and industrial development, main application fields are: solar energy conversion, photovoltaics, biophotonics, optoelectronics, and LED lighting.
At IMM-CNR-NA there is an up-to-grade activity research on plasmonics and nanophotonics, perfectly centred on H2020 framework, supported by more than fifteen people among research permanent staff and students.
Main research issues currently under development are:
- Fabrication and characterization of bioinspired plasmonic supports for SERS applications;
- Synthesis and characterization of hybrid organic-inorganic nanoparticles based on conjugation of enzymes and proteins to metallic cores for self-assembled plasmonic devices;
- Design, fabrication and characterization of plasmon-like metamaterials on substrates and on optical fibres tip for sensing and telecom applications;
Beyond applications in social interest fields such as energy, medical diagnostic and environmental monitoring, all the plasmonics and nanophotonics devices are also exploited for fundamental studies in chemistry, biology and physics.