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ICFO · Molecular Nanophotonics

Our central goal is to control light-matter interaction at the nanometer scale. To this end, we use individual molecules and quantum dots both as nanosources and nanodetectors. These single quantum systems are ideal local field probes for determining local mode densities in photonic nanostructures, showing the specific lifetime, spectrum, polarization, and even direction of photon emission. To generate strong nanoscale optical fields we make optical nanoantennas that are tuned in resonance with the photon emitters. Our research topics include emission control; nanofocusing and nanoscale imaging with nanoantenna probes scanned in controlled proximity to single photon emitters; coherent control of molecular dynamics and nanoscale antenna fields by phase controlled excitation with broad band pulses of a few femtoseconds (fs).

Partner: ICFO

Group Leader: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Available Resources

  • Single molecule detection: imaging, fluorescence lifetime, spectra
  • Heterodyne near-field optical microscope: phase mapping, pulse tracking
  • Aperture type near-field optical microscope
  • Confocal fluorescence - atomic force microscope
  • Lasers: fs-OPO-system, Ti:S-lasers, ps-diode-lasers, Ar/Kr+, HeNe, etc.
  • Pulse shapers: spectral shaper & acousto-optic programmable dispersive filter

Key Personnel

Niek F. van Hulst obtained his PhD (1986) in Molecular and Laser-physics at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. After research in non-linear optics, organic materials, integrated optics and waveguides, in 1990, he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Twente, and started research in near-field optical & atomic force microscopy, non-linear optics and hyper Raleigh scattering. In 1997 he obtained the full Professor chair in Applied Optics, at the MESA+ Institute for NanoTechnology, Dept. Science & Technology, with focus on single molecule detection, nanophotonics, photonic structures, scanning probe technology, applications in molecular biology and chemistry. In 1997 he received the Shell stimulation award for his near field research and in 2003 the European Science Award of the Körber foundation (Hamburg) for his work on single molecule detection. In September 2005, he left Twente to take up an ICREA Research Professor position and join ICFO, as a senior group leader in NanoPhotonics. In 2009 he was awarded the European Research Council Advanced Investigators Grants to pursue his project “Nano-Optical Antennas for Tunable Single Photon Super-Emitters”. Niek F. van Hulst is author of ~ 200 refereed papers, amongst which Science, Phys.Rev.Lett., Nature Photonics, Nature, PNAS, NanoLetters, Appl.Phys.Lett., Adv.Mat., Angew.Chem., JACS etc., on nanophotonics, single molecule detection, near-field optics, ultrafast laser spectroscopy, non-linear optics, macro/biomolecules, atomic force microscopy, nanophotonic structures and photonic crystals.

Website: www.icfo.eu

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