Nature – The assembly of hybrid nanophotonic devices from different fundamental photonic entities—such as single molecules, nanocrystals, semiconductor quantum dots, nanowires and metal nanoparticles—can yield functionalities that exceed those of the individual subunits. Combining these photonic elements requires nanometre-scale fabrication precision and potentially involves a material diversity that is incompatible with standard nanotechnological processes. Although merging these different systems on a single hybrid platform is at present challenging, it promises improved performance and novel devices. Particularly rapid progress is seen in the combination of plasmonic–dielectric constituents with quantum emitters that can be assembled on demand into fundamental model systems for future optical elements.
Nanophotonic functional elements.
Stepwise AFM nanoassembly of a plasmonic nanoantenna. a–c, A single nitrogen–vacancy defect centre in a diamond nanocrystal (a) is sandwiched between two gold nanoparticles (60 nm in diameter) (b, c). The sketches (bottom) illustrate the configuration mapped by false-colour AFM imaging (top)