Our research focuses on controlling materials at the 100-nanometer scale and investigating their size and shape-dependent properties. We have developed massively parallel, multi-scale nanopatterning tools to generate noble metal (plasmonic) structures that can manipulate visible light at the nanoscale. We are focusing on multi-scale, anisotropic, and 3D plasmonic materials for applications in imaging, sensing, and cancer therapeutics.
Plasmon lasers can support ultrasmall mode confinement and ultrafast dynamics with device feature sizes below the diffraction limit. However, most plasmon-based nanolasers rely on solid gain materials (inorganic semiconducting nanowire or organic dye in a solid matrix) that preclude the possibility of dynamic tuning. We developed an approach to achieve real-time, tunable lattice plasmon lasing based on arrays of gold nanoparticles and liquid gain materials. Optically pumped arrays of gold nanoparticles surrounded by liquid dye molecules exhibit lasing emission that can be tuned as a function of the dielectric environment. By integrating gold nanoparticle arrays within microfluidic channels and flowing in liquid gain materials with different refractive indices, we achieve dynamic tuning of the plasmon lasing wavelength. Tunable lattice plasmon lasers offer prospects to enhance and detect weak physical and chemical processes on the nanoscale in real time. This system opens up a diverse range of possibilities for both ultra-narrow lattice plasmons and ultrasensitive sensing applications as well as for tunable nano-lasers that can be integrated in lab-on-a-chip devices.