Science and Engineering

University of Oklahoma

Alberto Marino
Norman, OK
$1,000,000
June 2014

A team at the University of Oklahoma seeks to combine quantum optics with devices based on collective electronic excitations in a metal, or plasmons, in order to develop ultra-precise sensors that go beyond the ultimate sensitivity possible with classical resources.  The combination of these two fields, known as quantum plasmonics, is an emerging area of research that has been identified as a key enabling technology for sensing applications.  Traditional plasmonic sensors are currently used to detect local changes in air pressure or traces of biomolecules and chemicals and have begun to approach their ultimate sensitivity.  This team will go beyond the current state of the art by combining quantum states of light with novel plasmonic sensors to obtain a sensitivity enhancement of several orders of magnitude.  Among other things, this enhancement will allow earlier detection of diseases and advanced warning of dangerous pollutants or chemicals in the atmosphere.  The team will also take advantage of recent advances in both quantum states of light and plasmonic devices that allow them to address the spatial degree of freedom to extend the enhancement to imaging applications to achieve higher resolution than currently possible.

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