Far-Field Super-resolution Detection of Plasmonic Near-Fields

Robert Charles Boutelle, Daniel Neuhauser, Shimon Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We demonstrate a far-field single molecule super-resolution method that maps plasmonic near-fields. The method is largely invariant to fluorescence quenching (arising from probe proximity to a metal), has reduced point-spread-function distortion compared to fluorescent dyes (arising from strong coupling to nanoscopic metallic features), and has a large dynamic range (of 2 orders of magnitude) allowing mapping of plasmonic field-enhancements regions. The method takes advantage of the sensitivity of quantum dot (QD) stochastic blinking to plasmonic near-fields. The modulation of the blinking characteristics thus provides an indirect measure of the local field strength. Since QD blinking can be monitored in the far-field, the method can measure localized plasmonic near-fields at high throughput using a simple far-field optical setup. Using this method, propagation lengths and penetration depths were mapped-out for silver nanowires of different diameters and for different dielectric environments, with a spatial accuracy of ∼15 nm. We initially use sparse sampling to ensure single molecule localization for accurate characterization of the plasmonic near-field with plans to increase density of emitters in further studies. The measured propagation lengths and penetration depths values agree well with Maxwell finite-difference time-domain calculations and with published literature values. This method offers advantages such as low cost, high throughput, and superresolved mapping of localized plasmonic fields at high sensitivity and fidelity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7955-7962
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number8
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Dean Willard Chair Fund, NSF CHE-111250, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research program under Award No. DEFC02- 02ER63421

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • blinking
  • far-field
  • near-field
  • plasmonics
  • quantum dot
  • super-resolution


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