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Nano Lett. 2011 Feb 9;11(2):637-44. doi: 10.1021/nl103738d. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Bright unidirectional fluorescence emission of molecules in a nanoaperture with plasmonic corrugations.

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  • 1Institut Fresnel, Aix-Marseille UniversiteĢ, CNRS, Ecole Centrale Marseille, Marseille, France.


Controlling the fluorescence emission from nanoscale quantum emitters is a key element for a wide range of applications, from efficient analytical sensing to quantum information processing. Enhancing the fluorescence intensity and narrowing the emission directivity are both essential features to achieve a full control of fluorescence, yet this is rarely obtained simultaneously with optical nanoantennas. Here we report that gold nanoapertures surrounded by periodic corrugations transform standard fluorescent molecules into bright unidirectional sources. We obtain enhancement factors of the fluorescence count rate per molecule up to 120 fold simultaneously with a directional emission of the fluorescence into a narrow angular cone in the direction normal to the sample plane. The bright emission and narrow directionality enable the detection of single molecules with a low numerical aperture objective, and improve the effectiveness of fluorescence-based applications. We thoroughly quantify the increased light-matter coupling as well as the radiation pattern intensity. These results are highly relevant for the development of single molecule sensing, single-photon sources, and light emitting devices.

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