Project period: July 2016 – March 2017
GW4 community leads
University of Bath: G. Dan Pantos
University of Bristol: Sara Nunez-Sanchez, Ruth Oulton, Martin James Cryan
Cardiff University: Stephen A Lynch
University of Exeter: William Leslie Barnes
Plastics have been explored in photonics for lighting devices and waveguides, but their use for nanophotonics is completely new. Our approach is towards a special type of plastic that could be used as a substitute for the metals used in plasmonics, the ‘traditional’ way to confine light at the nanoscale. This is achieved by doping plastics with molecules that induce metal-like properties, enabling confinement and processing of light at the nanoscale. Understanding these materials will require a multidisciplinary approach from fundamental concepts in molecular photophysics to intermolecular interactions and optical properties, all the way to a more engineering-based approach for creating new building blocks involving photonic designs that span from nanoscale to microscale
We will address the development of photonic applications for these molecular materials by combining multidisciplinary expertise and perspective from the four South West Universities (Exeter, Bristol, Cardiff and Bath) including plasmonics, nanophotonics, quantum photonics, ultrafast spectroscopy or supramolecular chemistry.
The aim of this project is to develop and study a variety of molecular materials, exploring self-assembly techniques to fabricate novel molecular architectures. The inclusion of these architectures into photonic structures and the testing of their functionality will provide a breeding ground for new scientific directions to develop a novel cheap organic molecular platform for a low cost fully-plastic nanophotonics technology.