Ultrafast spontaneous emission source using plasmonic nanoantennas


Typical emitters such as molecules, quantum dots and semiconductor quantum wells have slow spontaneous emission with lifetimes of 1-10ns, creating a mismatch with high-speed nanoscale optoelectronic devices such as light-emitting diodes, single-photon sources and lasers. Here we experimentally demonstrate an ultrafast (<11ps) yet efficient source of spontaneous emission, corresponding to an emission rate exceeding 90GHz, using a hybrid structure of single plasmonic nanopatch antennas coupled to colloidal quantum dots. The antennas consist of silver nanocubes coupled to a gold film separated by a thin polymer spacer layer and colloidal core-shell quantum dots, a stable and technologically relevant emitter. We show an increase in the spontaneous emission rate of a factor of 880 and simultaneously a 2,300-fold enhancement in the total fluorescence intensity, which indicates a high radiative quantum efficiency of ∼50%. The nanopatch antenna geometry can be tuned from the visible to the near infrared, providing a promising approach for nanophotonics based on ultrafast spontaneous emission.

Publication Title

Nature Communications