Abstract

An effective approach to improve the detection efficiency of nanoscale light sources relies on a planar antenna configuration, which beams the emitted light into a narrow cone. Planar antennas operate like optical Yagi-Uda antennas, where reflector and director elements are made of metal films. Here we introduce and investigate, both theoretically and experimentally, a scanning implementation of a planar antenna. Using a small ensemble of molecules contained in fluorescent nanobeads placed in the antenna, we independently address the intensity, radiation pattern, and decay rate as a function of distance between a flat-tip scanning gold wire (reflector) and a thin gold film coated on a glass coverslip (director). The scanning planar antenna changes the radiation pattern of a single fluorescent bead, and it beams light into a narrow cone down to angles of ${45^ \circ}$ (full width at half maximum). Moreover, the collected signal compared to the case of a glass coverslip is larger than a factor of three, which is mainly due to the excitation enhancement. These results offer a better understanding of the modification of light–matter interaction by planar antennas, and they hold promise for applications such as sensing, imaging, and diagnostics.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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Data underlying the results presented in this paper are not publicly available at this time but may be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request.

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