In scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), confinement of surface plasmons to the optical cavity formed at the metallic tunneling gap stimulates the emission of light. We demonstrate that quantum dots (QDs) found in such a cavity give rise to discrete, observable transitions in the tunneling luminescence spectrum due to the resonant extinction of the plasmon. The observed resonances represent a fingerprint of the QD and occur at the optical band gap owing to the nearly simultaneous transfer of carriers from both sides of the tunneling gap to the QD. The resonant quenching of surface plasmons enables a new imaging technique, dubbed plasmon resonance imaging, with a spatial resolution potentially similar to that of STM and the energy resolution of optical spectroscopies. This detection and imaging strategy is not restricted to QDs, being of great interest to an entire spectrum of nanostructures, from molecular assemblies and biomolecules to carbon nanotubes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Chemistry (miscellaneous)