High index dielectric films on metals: An island of emission

Andrew Maytin, Martin Gruebele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fluorescent emitters are quenched near the surfaces of metals via rapid energy transfer to the metal, via surface plasmons, waveguide modes, and absorption. Commonly, this quenching is reduced by introducing a polymeric or dielectric spacer but requires large distances, at least a fraction of the wavelength, between the metal and chromophore. Using the classical theory for a dipole above a metal/dielectric substrate, we investigate the fluorescent yield for emitters above a wide range of metals and spacers. For metals with low loss and low plasma frequencies, a high index spacer is shown to be advantageous for obtaining higher fluorescent yield in an “island of emission” at finely tuned spacer thickness just 20-30 nm from the metal surface. For such metal-dielectric combinations, fluorophores can be placed surprisingly close to the metal surface while remaining significantly emissive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014704
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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