Introductory lecture: nanoplasmonics
Nanoplasmonics or nanoscale metal-based optics is a field of science and technology with a tremendously rich and colourful history. Starting with the early works of Michael Faraday on gold nanocolloids and optically-thin gold leaf, researchers have been fascinated by the unusual optical properties displayed by metallic nanostructures. We now can enjoy selecting from over 10 000 publications every year on the topic of plasmonics and the number of publications has been doubling about every three years since 1990. This impressive productivity can be attributed to the significant growth of the scientific community as plasmonics has spread into a myriad of new directions. With 2015 being the International Year of Light, it seems like a perfect moment to review some of the most notable accomplishments in plasmonics to date and to project where the field may be moving next. After discussing some of the major historical developments in the field, this article will analyse how the most successful plasmonics applications are capitalizing on five key strengths of metallic nanostructures. This Introductory Lecture will conclude with a brief look into the future.