Liquid plasmonics: Manipulating surface plasmon polaritons via phase transitions

S. R.C. Vivekchand, Clifford J. Engel, Steven M. Lubin, Martin G. Blaber, Wei Zhou, Jae Yong Suh, George C. Schatz, Teri W. Odom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


This paper reports the manipulation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) in a liquid plasmonic metal by changing its physical phase. Dynamic properties were controlled by solid-to-liquid phase transitions in 1D Ga gratings that were fabricated using a simple molding process. Solid and liquid phases were found to exhibit different plasmonic properties, where light coupled to SPPs more efficiently in the liquid phase. We exploited the supercooling characteristics of Ga to access plasmonic properties associated with the liquid phase over a wider temperature range (up to 30 °C below the melting point of bulk Ga). Ab initio density functional theory-molecular dynamic calculations showed that the broadening of the solid-state electronic band structure was responsible for the superior plasmonic properties of the liquid metal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4324-4328
Number of pages5
JournalNano letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 8 2012


  • Surface plasmon polaritons
  • gratings
  • liquid metals
  • real-time optical measurements
  • solid-to-liquid phase transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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