Engineering of parallel plasmonic–photonic interactions for on-chip refractive index sensors
Ultra-narrow linewidth in the extinction spectrum of noble metal nanoparticle arrays induced by the lattice plasmon resonances (LPRs) is of great significance for applications in plasmonic lasers and plasmonic sensors. However, the challenge of sustaining LPRs in an asymmetric environment greatly restricts their practical applications, especially for high-performance on-chip plasmonic sensors. Herein, we fully study the parallel plasmonic–photonic interactions in both the Au nanodisk arrays (NDAs) and the core/shell SiO2/Au nanocylinder arrays (NCAs). Different from the dipolar interactions in the conventionally studied orthogonal coupling, the horizontal propagating electric field introduces the out-of-plane “hot spots” and results in electric field delocalization. Through controlling the aspect ratio to manipulate the “hot spot” distributions of the localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs) in the NCAs, we demonstrate a high-performance refractive index sensor with a wide dynamic range of refractive indexes ranging from 1.0 to 1.5. Both high figure of merit (FOM) and high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) can be maintained under these detectable refractive indices. Furthermore, the electromagnetic field distributions confirm that the high FOM in the wide dynamic range is attributed to the parallel coupling between the superstrate diffraction orders and the height-induced LSPR modes. Our study on the near-field “hot-spot” engineering and far-field parallel coupling paves the way towards improved understanding of the parallel LPRs and the design of high-performance on-chip refractive index sensors.