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Plasmonics and Nanophotonics

Plasmonics and nanophotonics are currently considered future milestones of traditional light science. Nanophotonics is where photonics merges with nanoscience and nanotechnology, and where spatial confinement dominates light propagation and light-matter interaction. Plasmonics in particular is related to the use of metal nanostructures with subwavelength dimension to control light behaviour on the nanometric scale. Light interaction with conducting electron density of metals or semiconductors enhances specific features which lead to advanced spectroscopies with unprecedented sensitivity or imaging systems beyond the diffraction limit.
In the European frame, where photonics is recognized as one of the six Key Enabling Technologies for competition and industrial development, main application fields are: solar energy conversion, photovoltaics, biophotonics, optoelectronics, and LED lighting.
At IMM-CNR there is a wide, up-to-grade activity research on plasmonics and nanophotonics, perfectly centred on H2020 framework, supported by more than forty researchers. Main research issues currently under development are:

  • Fabrication and characterization of silicon nanostructures for light emission, in particular silicon nanocrystals embedded in silicon oxide matrix by sputtering and thermal annealing, and silicon nanowires by metal-assisted wet etching;
  • Synthesis and characterization of noble metals nanoparticles by wet chemistry or laser assisted processes;
  • Design and fabrication of plasmonic surfaces on hard and soft substrates;
  • Design, fabrication and characterization of plasmon-like metamaterials on substrates and on optical fibres tip;
  • Synthesis and characterization of organic-inorganic nanoparticles.

Beyond applications in social interest fields such as energy, medical diagnostic and environmental monitoring, all the plasmonics and nanophotonics devices are also exploited for fundamental studies in chemistry, biology and physics.


Coordinator: Esposito Emanuela

Plasmonic/catalytic nanostructures for photo-electrochemical Water Splitting

At IMM-CNR Catania we use the plasmonic properties of noble metal nanoparticles (Au or Pt) to improve the photo-electro catalytic activity of n-type 3C-SiC/p-type Si heterojunction solar cells, to...

Dielectric metasurfaces supporting bound states in the continuum: fundamentals and applications

Optical field amplification at the nanoscale can be used to increase light matter interaction enhancing a plethora of physical processes. More recently it has been demonstrated that a dielectric...

Optical sensor based on plasmonic and photonic crystal structures


Current research direction are the following:

Plasmonics involves the control of light at the nanoscale by using surface...

Bio-derived nanostructures for plasmonic applications.


A proper metalization of bio-derived dielectric nanostructures allows obtaining very complex three-dimensional platforms for plasmonic applications such as Surface Enhanced Raman...

Plasmonics and Nanophotonics at IMM - Lecce unit

The research group is focused on three principal missions:

to design optically active nanostructures driven by function (noble metals and novel plasmonic metamaterials : 2D materials and...
Hybrid Nanostructured Plasmonic Devices for Sensing and Fundamental Studies

Scientific research activity is focused on two main lines: micro- and nano- patterned diatom silica shells have been modified by nanometric layers of gold and tested as...

Tailored Light Trapping in Forest of Decorated Silica Nanowires

Highly disordered (forest) SiO2 nanowires (NWs), obtained by oxidizing SiNWs, have been decorated with metal (Au, Ag) nanoparticles (NPs). These hybrid structures combine strong scattering...

Light emission from silicon nanostructures

Many efforts of the scientific community working in the field of nanophotonics are currently devoted towards the development of a Si-based light source able to be used for the...