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Plasmonics is a new field in which surface plasmons are exploited to manipulate and control light. Here we show that surface plasmons can be configured to induce electronic transport in molecular devices and in this manner convert optical energy into electrical conduction.
Hybrid nanostructures were fabricated in which 32 nm gold particles are linked with optically active porphyrin molecules. The structures are designed such that the spacing between many of the particles is exactly the length that the molecules span.
The plasmons focus light to the junction and induce electrical conduction by localizing photon flux to increase exciton production in the molecule. The transport properties of the molecule, the proximity of the gold electrodes and the plasmons lead to current enhancements by factors of 4-20 (400% to 2000%) even in these unoptimized devices.
These results suggest new strategies for energy efficient circuits, energy harvesting coatings, optical circuit components, and neural logic devices.
Parag Banerjee, David Conklin, Sanjini Nanayakkara, Tae-Hong Park, Michael J. Therien, and Dawn A. Bonnell
About Nano/Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania
Nano/Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania is a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) bringing together researchers from the Schools of Engineering and Applied Science; Arts and Sciences; and Medicine. The NBIC exploits Penn's internationally recognized strengths in design of molecular function and quantification of individual molecules. The Center unites investigators from ten departments to provide, not only new directions for the life sciences, but also for engineering in a two-way flow essential to fully realizing the benefits of nano-biotechnology.
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