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Spontaneous Hot-Electron Light Emission from Electron-Fed Optical Antennas

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Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Carnot de Bourgogne UMR 6303, CNRS-Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 21078 Dijon, France
Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, Russia
ITMO University, Kronverkskiy 49, 197101, St. Petersburg, Russia
§ ICube UMR 7357 CNRS-Télécom Physique Strasbourg, 67412 Illkirch, France
The Institute of Photonic Sciences, 08860 Castelldefels, Spain
*E-mail: [email protected]. Phone: +33 38039 60222. Fax: +33 38039 6024.
Cite this: Nano Lett. 2015, 15, 9, 5811–5818
Publication Date (Web):July 27, 2015
Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society

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Nanoscale electronics and photonics are among the most promising research areas providing functional nanocomponents for data transfer and signal processing. By adopting metal-based optical antennas as a disruptive technological vehicle, we demonstrate that these two device-generating technologies can be interfaced to create an electronically driven self-emitting unit. This nanoscale plasmonic transmitter operates by injecting electrons in a contacted tunneling antenna feedgap. Under certain operating conditions, we show that the antenna enters a highly nonlinear regime in which the energy of the emitted photons exceeds the quantum limit imposed by the applied bias. We propose a model based upon the spontaneous emission of hot electrons that correctly reproduces the experimental findings. The electron-fed optical antennas described here are critical devices for interfacing electrons and photons, enabling thus the development of optical transceivers for on-chip wireless broadcasting of information at the nanoscale.

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This material is available free of charge via the Internet at The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01861.

  • Description of the experimental apparatus used to characterize the electrical and the optical properties of the electron fed antenna, derivation of the one-dimensional model relating the temperature of the electrons to the electrical power injected into the junction, and comparison of our model with the parameters inferred from noise measurements. (PDF)

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