Mr Henry Fernandez
Using nanostructure to create hybrid ligth-matter states: a combined electrical and optical investigation.
Supervisors: Professor Bill Barnes and Professor Saverio Russo.
New, hybrid states are formed when electronic and optical modes interact with sufficient strength. Here we will explore hybrid states formed when excitons in organic materials interact with plasmon modes of metallic nanostructures. Importantly it is the structuring of the metal that controls the strength of the interaction. The structuring is typically on a <100 nm length scale so that the resulting systems can be regarded as hybrid metamaterials. Initial work in this area was conducted by one of us a few years ago (PRB 71 035424 (2005)), and has thus far culminated in a major review that surveys the entire field. Very recently these hybrid states have been shown to open up opportunities across a wide range of areas including: modifying the work function of metals, enabling control over chemical reaction rates near surfaces and providing a means to enhance the conductance of organic semiconducting films. This last aspect is controversial. The aim of the proposed project is to explore how hybrid states may be used to enhance the organic thin film conductance, clarify the underlying physics and allow us to identify areas of opportunity. By collaborating we are ideally placed to undertake this ground-breaking research, the student will work equally in both labs.