EPJ B Highlight - From stained glass to novel optical effect

Match-stick structure, consisting of a gold sphere (6 nm diameter) attached to a semiconductor nanorod (14 nm length). © J. Ebner et al.

Physicists investigate hybrid nanostructures made of semiconductor and metal components, yielding novel electronic and optical characteristics when exposed to light

Coloured stained-glass windows in churches typically contain metallic nanoparticles. They illustrate how light interacts with matter in a specific way at nanoscales. Depending on the material, different types of excitations arise within the inner structure of the material. By combining two different nanostructures, physicists expect the best electronic and optical response from each material. A team of Austrian scientists has just produced a model describing the optical properties of a matchstick-shaped hybrid nanoparticle, made of a cadmium sulphide semiconductor rod attached to a metallic gold cap. The results have been published in EPJ B by physicist Jakob Ebner and colleagues from the Karl Franzens University in Graz. Similar light-matter interactions have been observed in related systems, such as graphene. Better understanding such interactions could ultimately help in enhancing the sensitivity of chemical or biological detectors, as well as in increasing the efficiency of solar cells.

In this study, the authors focus on the interplay between two types of excitation. First, the excitation found in the semiconductor, called excitons, which are a quasi-particle constituted of strongly bound electron-hole pairs. Second, the excitations of the metallic component, called plasmons. These are collective electron oscillations taking place at the metal surface, leading to pronounced light scattering at specific frequencies.

Ebner and colleagues then study the light-matter coupling in the hybrid nanostructure in a unique theoretical model. They demonstrate that the way the hybrid produces light is complex and involves various electronic coupling mechanisms. As a result, the authors predict novel excitations, referred to as plexcitons. These represent the best of the two worlds of semiconductor optics and plasmonics, combining the rich variety of active semiconductor materials with the unique light emission properties of plasmonic nanoparticles.

This was our first experience of publishing with EPJ Web of Conferences. We contacted the publisher in the middle of September, just one month prior to the Conference, but everything went through smoothly. We have had published MNPS Proceedings with different publishers in the past, and would like to tell that the EPJ Web of Conferences team was probably the best, very quick, helpful and interactive. Typically, we were getting responses from EPJ Web of Conferences team within less than an hour and have had help at every production stage.
We are very thankful to Solange Guenot, Web of Conferences Publishing Editor, and Isabelle Houlbert, Web of Conferences Production Editor, for their support. These ladies are top-level professionals, who made a great contribution to the success of this issue. We are fully satisfied with the publication of the Conference Proceedings and are looking forward to further cooperation. The publication was very fast, easy and of high quality. My colleagues and I strongly recommend EPJ Web of Conferences to anyone, who is interested in quick high-quality publication of conference proceedings.

On behalf of the Organizing and Program Committees and Editorial Team of MNPS-2019, Dr. Alexey B. Nadykto, Moscow State Technological University “STANKIN”, Moscow, Russia. EPJ Web of Conferences vol. 224 (2019)

ISSN: 2100-014X (Electronic Edition)

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