Exploration of grating-based surface plasmon resonance systems for wave vector matching to enhance plasmon modes and preliminary surface plasmon-enhanced fluorescence interrogation
Surface plasmon resonance refers to the collective oscillation of conductance band electrons in a metal. The most common experimental method to excite surface plasmon resonance is with light through a coupling mode (prism, grating, waveguide, etc). The work presented in this thesis uses experimental observations of surface plasmon resonance, bolstered with theoretical, analytical and computational solutions, in order to explain and show applications of the phenomena observed.
Chapter 1 introduces surface plasmon resonance by explicating historical interest in the phenomena. Theoretical and experimental results opened the door for surface plasmon resonance to be used as a refractive index sensor (allowing for diagnostics and kinetics studies). Surface plasmon resonance is also associated with a highly localized electric field, which can be used to enhance many spectroscopic techniques like infrared absorption, fluorescence, Raman spectroscopy, and surface chemistry reactions. This chapter will close by looking into the specific information on studies that will be found in subsequent chapters.
Chapter 2 reveals information behind a study conducted to increase the localization of light in a surface plasmon resonance system through matching the surface plasmon resonance wave vectors across a thin metal film. As discussed in depth, this matching occurs by shifting the front side optical properties to match the back side (across the metal film), through the use of a high refractive index layer. Finally, this system is probed with refractive index sensing of the new (matched- high refractive index film present) sensor, and native (unmatched- no high refractive index film) sensor.
Chapter 3 introduces a study laying ground work in future experiments in our lab pertaining to enhancing photoluminescence with surface plasmon resonance. Preliminary data shows enhanced fluorescence of rhodamine B in poly(methyl methacrylate) thin films due to the films' proximity to metal gratings. Implications of the preliminary findings are explicated and a full study is proposed.