The optical properties of nanoparticles formed in an amorphous host by stoichiometric ion implantation of vanadium and oxygen and thermal annealing have been determined and correlated with the particle size and morphology. The results show that that the temperature-controlled semiconductor-to-metal phase transition of the nanophase precipitates turns on the classical surface plasmon resonance, with specific features that depend on the size and aspect ratio of the particles. This effect improves the optical contrast between the metallic and semiconducting states in the near-IR region of the spectrum as a result of dielectric confinement that is due to the host. A fiber-optic application is demonstrated, as is the ability to control the characteristics of the phase transition by using ion implantation to dope the nanoparticles with tungsten or titanium ions.
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