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Plasmonics: Fundamentals and Applications

Module PH2119

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Basic Information

PH2119 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 40 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2119 is Jonathan Finley.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Nano-optics and nano-photonics are generic terms that describe the interaction of light with matter over lengthscales close to, or below, the optical wavelength. This encompasses either systems in which the light-field is confined into dimensions that are much smaller than its wavelength or confining matter to nanoscale dimensions and studying its interaction with electromagnetic fields. In this module we will explore a wide range of exciting current research topics in nano-optics and the physics of nanoscale solids. We will see how materials that are engineered on the nanoscale can dramatically change the way light propagates, behaves and interacts with matter. The course will consist of lectures, seminar and coursework that highlight the fundamentals of the field, drawing on examples from the research literature.

Learning Outcome

After successful participation in this module the student is able to:

1. Understand and describe quantiatively the fundamental concepts of electromagnetism in dielectric-metal nanostructures including basic Drude theory and Drude-Lorentz model applied to planar interfaces. 

2. To comprehend and explain the properties of surface plasmon polaritons, explain their polarization properties and be able to describe methods to excite them from the far field using e.g. electron energy loss spectroscopy, via evanescent optical fields (Kretschmann and Otto configuration), and via gratings.  

3. To understand and be able to explain fundamental experimental methods used to excite and probe surface plasmon polaritons in planar interfaces (SPR sensors)

4. To be aware of basic experimental methods used to couple light to surface plasmon polaritons using sub-wavelength apertures, gratings and nanostructured scattering tips.    You will learn about methods such as dark field microscopy, strong focusing and near field microscopy.

5. To understand and be abl to explain how flourescence imaging via proximal emitters can be used to image surface plasmon polaritons.

6. To be able to explain the fundamental properties of localised surface plasmons and quantitatively describe them using Mie theory in the quasi static approximation.  This will allow you to appreciate the connection between the localized plasmon resonance and particle geometry and size.

7. To be able to explain the mechanisms responsible for damping of localized plsamons in metallic nanosystems.

8. To be aware of the applications of particle and void plasmons for e.g. controlling the propagation of light, enhancing incident fields and manipulating spontaneous emission properties of proximal emitters.

9. To be aware of the current research themes in modern plasmonics including waveguiding, sub wavelength focusing, field enhancement, flourescence control, SERS, enhanced photovoltaic devices. 

10. To be able to independently develop a scientific theme with guidance, create a presentation and give a talk as well as judge presentation techniques and apply them.


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Plasmonics: Fundamentals and Applications Finley, J. singular or moved dates

Learning and Teaching Methods

lecture, beamer presentation, board work, exercises in individual and group work, discussion


lecture script, practise sheets, accompanying internet site, complementary literature


no info

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 60 minutes.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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