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Creators/Authors contains: "Tao, Andrea R."

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  1. Abstract

    Fluorescence super-resolution microscopy has, over the last two decades, been extensively developed to access deep-subwavelength nanoscales optically. Label-free super-resolution technologies however have only achieved a slight improvement compared to the diffraction limit. In this context, we demonstrate a label-free imaging method, i.e., hyperbolic material enhanced scattering (HMES) nanoscopy, which breaks the diffraction limit by tailoring the light-matter interaction between the specimens and a hyperbolic material substrate. By exciting the highly confined evanescent hyperbolic polariton modes with dark-field detection, HMES nanoscopy successfully shows a high-contrast scattering image with a spatial resolution around 80 nm. Considering the wavelength at 532 nm and detection optics with a 0.6 numerical aperture (NA) objective lens, this value represents a 5.5-fold resolution improvement beyond the diffraction limit. HMES provides capabilities for super-resolution imaging where fluorescence is not available or challenging to apply.

  2. Abstract

    New materials that exhibit strong second-order optical nonlinearities at a desired operational frequency are of paramount importance for nonlinear optics. Giant second-order susceptibilityχ(2)has been obtained in semiconductor quantum wells (QWs). Unfortunately, the limited confining potential in semiconductor QWs causes formidable challenges in scaling such a scheme to the visible/near-infrared (NIR) frequencies for more vital nonlinear-optic applications. Here, we introduce a metal/dielectric heterostructured platform, i.e., TiN/Al2O3epitaxial multilayers, to overcome that limitation. This platform has an extremely highχ(2)of approximately 1500 pm/V at NIR frequencies. By combining the aforementioned heterostructure with the large electric field enhancement afforded by a nanostructured metasurface, the power efficiency of second harmonic generation (SHG) achieved 10−4at an incident pulse intensity of 10 GW/cm2, which is an improvement of several orders of magnitude compared to that of previous demonstrations from nonlinear surfaces at similar frequencies. The proposed quantum-engineered heterostructures enable efficient wave mixing at visible/NIR frequencies into ultracompact nonlinear optical devices.

  3. The integration of layer-by-layer (LbL) and self-assembly methods has the potential to achieve precision assembly of nanocomposite materials. Knowledge of how nanoparticles move across and within stacked materials is critical for directing nanoparticle assembly. Here, we investigate nanoparticle self-assembly within two different LbL architectures: (1) a bilayer composed of two immiscible polymer thin-films, and (2) a bilayer composed of polymer and graphene that possesses a “hard-soft” interface. Polymer-grafted silver nanocubes (AgNCs) are employed as a model nanoparticle system for systematic experiments – characterizing both assembly rate and resulting morphologies – that examine how assembly is affected by the presence of an interface. We observe that polymer grafts can serve to anchor AgNCs at the bilayer interface and to decrease particle mobility, or can promote particle transfer between layers. We also find that polymer viscosity and polymer mixing parameters can be used as predictors of assembly rate and behavior. These results provide a pathway for designing more complex multilayered nanocomposites.