A new optical antenna design that can control fluorescent light is described in a paper published in Nature Communications this week. The findings may have implications for many important applications, including optical spectroscopy techniques, biodetection, photochemistry and lighting. Optical antennas made with metal nanostructures can concentrate light into a deep-subwavelength volume for applications in sensors and photovoltaics. Currently there are a lack of antennas that can produce concentrated beams for multiple emitters, which would allow electrical control over their emission properties. Mark Brongersma and colleagues demonstrate an optical antenna design that achieves a high level of control over fluorescent emission. Using a structure called a plasmonic cavity, the emission intensity and wavelength can be controlled electronically. This optical antenna design could be used for a wide range of nanoscale optical spectroscopy applications.
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