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ACS Nano. 2010 Aug 24;4(8):4571-8. doi: 10.1021/nn1009209.

Colloidal quantum dots as probes of excitation field enhancement in photonic antennas.

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Institut Fresnel, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Ecole Centrale Marseille, Campus de St Jérôme, 13397 Marseille, France.


Optical antennas are essential devices to interface light to nanoscale volumes and locally enhance the electromagnetic intensity. Various experimental methods can be used to quantify the antenna amplification on the emission process, yet characterizing the antenna amplification at the excitation frequency solely is a challenging task. Such experimental characterization is highly needed to fully understand and optimize the antenna response. Here, we describe a novel experimental tool to directly measure the antenna amplification on the excitation field independently of the emission process. We monitor the transient emission dynamics of colloidal quantum dots and show that the ratio of doubly to singly excited state photoluminescence decay amplitudes is an accurate tool to quantify the local excitation intensity amplification. This effect is demonstrated on optical antennas made of polystyrene microspheres and gold nanoapertures, and supported by numerical computations. The increased doubly excited state formation on nanoantennas realizes a new demonstration of enhanced light-matter interaction at the nanoscale.


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