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Metal nanoparticles shine with customizable color
Date:2/23/2012

onym LSP (short for localized surface plasmon) was created. With unpolarized light or with light which is polarized at 45 degrees, the letters are invisible (gray on gray). In polarized light at 90 degrees, the letters appear vibrant yellow with a blue background, and at 0 degrees the color scheme is reversed. By rotating the polarization of the incident light, the letters then change color, moving from yellow to blue.

"What is somewhat unusual about this work is that we have a color filter with a response that depends on polarization," says Crozier.

The researchers envision several kinds of applications: using the color functionality to present different colors in a display or camera, showing polarization effects in tissue for biomedical imaging, and integrating the technology into labels or paper to generate security tags that could mark money and other objects.

Seeing the color effects from current fabricated samples requires magnification, but large-scale nanoprinting techniques could be used to generate samples big enough to be seen with the naked eye. To build a television, for example, using the nanoantennas would require a great deal of advanced engineering, but Crozier and Ellenbogen say it is absolutely feasible.

Crozier credits the latest advance, in part, to taking a biological approach to the problem of color generation. Ellenbogen, who is, ironically, colorblind, had previously studied computational models of the visual cortex and brought such knowledge to the lab.

"The chromatic plasmonic polarizers combine two structures, each with a different spectral response, and the human eye can see the mixing of these two spectral responses as color," said Crozier.

"We would normally ask what is the response in terms of the spectrum, rather than what is the response in terms of the eye," added Ellenbogen.


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Contact: Caroline Perry
cperry@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-1351
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

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