Rochester Nano Optics

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Current Research Topics

The general interest of the nano-optics group is in light-matter interactions on the subwavelength scale. The activities are motivated by the current trend in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy

Nearfield techniques allow surfaces to be imaged with nanometric spatial resolution.

Nanoscale Vibrational Spectroscopy

We developed a tip-enhanced Raman scattering microscope for the chemically specific imaging of surfaces. This technique is being applied for the study of carbon nanotubes, stress analysis in semiconductors, and membrane proteins.

Nanolithography & Nanoinspection

Our group is working on a scheme for nano-lithography and nano-inspection of semiconductor materials. If near-field optics permits the interaction of light and matter with a resolution of nanometers, then manipulation of matter on the nanometer scale should be possible.

Optical Antennas

We study optical antennas using both top-down (FIB, e-beam) and bottom-up (colloidal synthesis) approaches. We are interested in understanding fundamental properties and to develop quantitative design strategies for efficient antenna structures.

Quantum Optics in the Near-field

We are interested in understanding how virtual photons are involved in molecular binding, forces on the nanometric scale (van der Waals, Casimir), and interactions with semiconductor wavefunctions.

Friction arising from thermal fields

We study the friction experienced by a particle due to its interaction with thermal electromagnetic fields. These studies are motivated by recent experiments that measured friction acting on nanoscale probes near planar substrates in ultra-high vacuum conditions.

Detection and classification of single viruses

We are developing a chip-scale device for the optical presorting of sub-micron particles such as viruses. So far, we can detect single influenza viruses and separate them from other particles.

Study of transmembrane proteins using single molecule spectroscopy

We are using single-pair FRET measurements to track conformational changes in single AE1 membrane proteins.


Future Projects

Possible future projects are:
1.) Nanoscale subsurface spectroscopy and imaging
2.) Long-range energy transfer between single molecules
3.) Spectroscopy of adhesion proteins in cell membranes
4.) Vacuum trapping and cooling of single molecules


This web site is maintained by nanogroup@optics.rochester.edu