Science and Engineering
University of California, Irvine
A team at UC Irvine proposes to construct a novel atomic force microscope with an optical frequency magnetic scanning nanoprobe that will enable the study and manipulation of magnetism at optical frequencies with nanoscale precision – a range inaccessible by current technologies. Through amplification of the high-frequency magnetic field they will bring previously undetected optical processes into view, such as the direct excitation of dark triplet states and the Raman optical activity of individual molecules, and lay the groundwork for controlling them. The magnetic nanoprobe will consist of resonant plasmonic nanoantennas stimulated to generate strong local magnetic fields. This plasmon-enhanced magnetic interaction with matter is substantially different from standard electric dipolar interactions, on which virtually all optical technology for communications and sensors is based. The nanoprobe will be designed and sculpted on the scanning tip of an atomic force microscope and is expected to trigger a whole new class of spectroscopic studies of nanoscale matter. The proposed system can provide critical insight into the behavior and control of material processes at electron scales, with implications ranging from magnetic storage down to single molecular spins, to improved efficiency of solar energy harvesting, tomographic characterization of the structure of single proteins, and the creation of new biologically inspired technologies.
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