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Revisiting Quantum Optics with Surface Plasmons and Plasmonic Resonators

Abstract : Surface plasmon polaritons can be used to confine fields at the nanoscale and are now one of the working horses of nanophotonics. This perspective deals with recent studies aiming at doing quantum optics experiments with surface plasmons. A first class of studies deals with one or two single plasmons and aims at observing wave-particle duality, squeezing, and coalescence of plasmons. A second class of studies deals with cavity quantum electrodynamics with localized plasmons in both the weak coupling regime and the strong coupling regime. Q uantum plasmonics has recently emerged as a new field in the exploration of light-matter interactions. There are essentially two motivations to study surface plasmons polar-itons (SPPs) in the quantum regime. One of them is to investigate plasmonics when either field or matter is quantized. This raises the question of the validity limits of a description based on permittivities and classical fields. The second motivation is to explore the modification of light−matter interactions at the nanoscale and observe truly quantum phenomena. A major motivation to explore the nanoscale regime is the fact that the electric field scales as ω ℏ ϵ V 0 when the field is confined in a volume V. This scaling entails a very large light−matter coupling and the possibility of nonlinear effects with very few photons. In this perspective, we limit the scope of the discussion to quantized electromagnetic fields while using a classical description of metals. In other words, we deal with quantum optics with surface plasmons. Regarding the effects of a quantum description of electrons in metals, the reader is referred to a recent review. 1 Two excellent reviews summarized a few years ago the progress in quantum optics with plasmons. 2,3 In this Perspective, we focus on very recent achievements in quantum plasmonics which had been on the agenda of the community for many years: observation of truly quantum effects with propagating surface plasmons such as surface plasmon coalescence, coupling of quantum emitters with plasmonic antennas with Purcell factors larger than 100 and quantum efficiencies above 50%, observation of the strong coupling regime at the single emitter level. The first part of this Perspective focuses on experiments aiming at exploring quantum optics with surface plasmons. These experiments raise the question of the decoherence that we address in the section Decoherence. The section Quantum Emitters Coupled to Plasmonic Resonators is devoted to cavity quantum electrodynamics with plasmonic nanoresonators. Plasmonics provides the possibility of confining electromagnetic fields at deep subwavelength scales, opening new opportunities to study cavity quantum electrodynamics with unprecedented large electromagnetic fields. We briefly summarize the key concepts and discuss in details very recent results in the field of plasmonic antennas with a particular discussion of the quenching issue and how it can be overcome. We finally present recent experimental evidence of strong coupling. In the concluding section, we address some other fields where new results are expected such as electrical excitation of surface plasmons, nonlinear quantum plasmonics and super-radiance. ■ SINGLE PLASMON EXCITATION AND DETECTION In order to perform quantum optics with surface plasmons, a source of single plasmon is needed. Different ways to excite a single quantum of energy of surface or localized plasmons have been recently demonstrated. The simplest approach consists in using a single photon source. Illuminating a metallic structure acting as a plasmon launcher with single photons has been successfully explored both theoretically 4 and experimentally. 5−10 It is also possible to directly excite a plasmon with a quantum emitter. The first excitation of localized plasmons by single molecules were performed in the context of nano-antennas designed to enhance the fluorescence. 11,12 The first direct excitation of a single propagating surface plasmon has been observed in 2007 coupling the fluorescence of a single colloidal CdSe quantum dot to a silver nanowire (see Figure 1A). 13 Statistics on light scattered by the end of the nanowire showed an antibunching, thereby demonstrating the single particle behavior of the SPP along the wire. Soon after, the wave behavior of a single SPP excited by a diamond NV center was demonstrated using the same kind of apparatus and focusing on fringes appearing in the emitted spectrum (see
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Submitted on : Monday, November 27, 2017 - 10:54:15 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:16:10 AM

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François Marquier, Christophe Sauvan, Jean-Jacques Greffet. Revisiting Quantum Optics with Surface Plasmons and Plasmonic Resonators. ACS photonics, American Chemical Society,, 2017, 4 (9), pp.2091 - 2101. ⟨10.1021/acsphotonics.7b00475⟩. ⟨hal-01649068⟩

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