Infrared plasmonics via ZnO

J. W. Allen, M. S. Allen, D. C. Look, B. R. Wenner, N. Itagaki, K. Matsushima, I. Surhariadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional plasmonic devices involve metals, but metal-based plasmonic resonances are mainly limited to λres < 1 μm, and thus metals interact effectively only with light in the UV and visible ranges. We show that highly doped ZnO can exhibit λres ≥ 1 μm, thus moving plasmonics into the IR range. We illustrate this capability with a set of thin (d = 25-147 nm) Al-doped ZnO (AZO) layers grown by RF sputtering on quartz glass. These samples employ a unique, 20-nmthick, ZnON buffer layer, which minimizes the strong thickness dependence of mobility (μ) on thickness (d). A practical waveguide structure, using these measurements, is simulated with COMSOL Multiphysics software over a mid-IR wavelength range of 4-10 μm, with a detailed examination of propagation loss and plasmon confinement dimension. In many cases, Lplas < λlight, thus showing that IR light can be manipulated in semiconductor materials at dimensions below the diffraction limit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nano Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul 6 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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