Metallic nanoslit arrays exhibit several unique, surprising, and useful properties, such as resonant enhanced transmission and resonant local field enhancements. Here we present both a theoretical study of these static properties, as well as experiments showing the utilization of these features combined with active optical media. We develop an approximated, simple closed-form model for predicting and explaining the general emergence of enhanced transmission resonances through metallic gratings, in various configurations and polarizations. This model is based on an effective index approximation and it unifies in a simple way the underlying mechanism of all forms of enhanced transmission in such structures as emerging from standing wave resonances of the different diffraction orders of periodic structures. The known excitation of surface plasmon polaritons or slit cavity modes emerges as a limiting case of a more general condition. We also use this understanding of the resonant behavior of nanoslit arrays to design and fabricate such structures with embedded nanocrystal quantum dots, and show beaming of nonclassical light to a narrow angle of less than 4 deg, as well as an enhancement of the two-photon upconversion fluorescence process by a factor of .
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