Control of Plasmon Emission and Dynamics at the Transition from Classical to Quantum Coupling
|Reviews and Highlights||Quantum Science||Molecular and Soft-matter||Ultrafast Nano-optics and Nanophotonics||Mineralogy and Geochemistry|
With nanosecond radiative lifetimes, quenching dominates over enhancement for conventional fluorescence emitters near metal interfaces. We explore the fundamentally distinct behavior of photoluminescence (PL) with few-femtosecond radiative lifetimes of a coupled plasmonic emitter. Controlling the emitter−surface distance with subnanometer precision by combining atomic force and scanning tunneling distance control, we explore the unique behavior of plasmon dynamics at the transition from long-range classical resonant energy transfer to quantum coupling. Because of the ultrafast radiative plasmon emission, classical quenching is completely suppressed. Field-enhanced behavior dominates until the onset of quantum coupling dramatically reduces emission intensity and field enhancement, as verified in concomitant tip-enhanced Raman measurements. The entire distance behavior from tens of nanometers to subnanometers can be described using a phenomenological rate equation model and highlights the new degrees of freedom in radiation control enabled by an ultrafast radiative emitter near surfaces.