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STTR Phase II: Surface Plasmon Enhanced High Efficiency Near-field Probes

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2005 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Itn Energy Systems, Inc.
8130 Shaffer Parkway Littleton, CO 80127-4107
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2005
Title: STTR Phase II: Surface Plasmon Enhanced High Efficiency Near-field Probes
Agency: NSF
Contract: 0522281
Award Amount: $499,949.00


This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project will further develop structures and manufacturing techniques for high efficiency near-field scanning optical microscope (NSOM) probes utilizing surface plasmon enhancement. Wavelength scale surface topography (gratings) in metal films allow coupling between surface plasmons at the metal interface and photons in free space, providing significant transmission enhancement through sub-wavelength apertures. Probes with 20 nanometers optical and topographic resolution combined with power throughput greater than 10 microwatts are projected. This represents a factor of 5-10 improvement in resolution and a thousand fold improvement in transmission over existing tapered fiber NSOM probes. The program will include closely linked fabrication, theoretical modeling, and characterization activities to ensure efficient optimization. The plasmon structures will be integrated with optical fibers to produce NSOM probes that can be directly interchanged with existing tapered fiber probes. In addition to the primary development of improved NSOM probes, advancements to the fundamental scientific understanding of plasmon-optical interactions will aid in the future development of other plasmonic devices. Commercially the proposed program will enhance the capabilities of NSOM metrology instruments, which have wide applicability in nanotechnology development. Based on Phase I results, significant increases in measurement speed and improved resolution can be expected from this effort. The proposed effort is a key step in commercialization of a large area, high speed NSOM instrument. While this project focuses specifically on NSOM tips, plasmon optics have potential applications to a broad range of areas where high efficiency and subwavelength sizes are required including the integration of optics with microelectronics, spatial and spectral optical multiplexing, and data storage applications.

Principal Investigator:

Russell E. Hollingsworth

Business Contact:

Joseph H. Armstrong
Small Business Information at Submission:

ITN Energy Systems, Inc.
8130 Shaffer Parkway Littleton, CO 80127

Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Colorado School of Mines
1500 Illinois
Golden, CO 80401
Contact: Reuben Collins
Contact Phone: (303) 273-3851
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university