Some optical techniques for characterizing micro-scale particles and on-chip plasmonic nanofocusing
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The content in the dissertation is divided into two main categories: (1) micro-particle characterization techniques based on elastic light scattering, and (2) ultra-compact on-chip plasmonic light concentration and its applications. For category (1), I developed two techniques, one is in vitro and the other is in the scenario of flow cytometry. I investigated theoretically and experimentally the spectra of scattered light from spherical dielectric particles at certain fixed angles, and demonstrate the linearity between the peak positions in the Fourier domain and the diameter of the particle. Based on this discovery, I demonstrate an efficient and accurate technique for in-vitro micro-particle sizing. Moreover, I theoretically analyzed the far-field elastic scattering signals from micro-particles passing through a flow cytometer with tightly focused incident beams, and established an algorithm to extract size information from the detected signals with higher accuracy than that in conventional flow cytometry systems. For category (2), I proposed an on-chip plasmonic nanofocusing technique whose unit device is a plasmonic triangle-shaped nanotaper mounted upon a dielectric optical waveguide. This structure provides highly efficient and robust light concentration into the tip of the nanotaper. Near-field measurements were performed to thoroughly investigate a fabricated sample and prove the concept. I also proposed theoretically a novel concept named phase-induced local-field configuration with logic behaviors, whose actuators are composite devices built on units of single on-chip plasmonic light concentrators mentioned above.