TERC3 - Tremplin-ERC

Highlighting the dark part of light-matter interactions – DarkLight

Submission summary

Light and matter interactions are widely considered to be mediated solely by the electric field part of light, neglecting the other major component of electromagnetic waves. This is particularly relevant in quantum optics where the electric field component of the light couples to the electric dipole of a quantum system. However, the optical electric and magnetic fields carry the same amount of energy, leading to the conclusion that half of the interactions between light and matter are not studied. The reason limiting the observation of these interactions are two fold: (i) the weak amplitude and broad localisation of optical magnetic fields and (ii) the spatial overlap between electric and magnetic fields in far field.

At the interface between nano and quantum optics, DarkLight develops a newly emerging field of research by extending the concept of optical nanoantennas toward the creation of strong hot spots of optical magnetic fields to (i) observe single magnetic dipole transitions, by (ii) strongly increasing their magnetic emission and (iii) enhancing the magnetic local density of states at the nanoscale.

DarkLight introduces innovative photonic nanoantennas to tailor the “magnetic light”-matter interactions at the nanoscale. A pure, strong and confined magnetic hot spot of light is created by a photonic antenna and placed in close proximity to a quantum emitter carrying magnetic dipole transitions, increasing the emission of the latter dramatically. Moreover, this original optical antenna is placed at the end of a Near-Field Optical tip in order to fully control the positioning between the “magnetic” emitter and the nano-structure, allowing complete control of the interaction.

This research program represents a new paradigm in the fundamental understanding of light and matter interactions and will open complete new horizons in research fields as diverse as nanotechnology, sensing, biology, quantum and molecular chiral optics, amongst other.

Project coordination

Mathieu Mivelle (Institut des nanosciences de Paris)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


INSP Institut des nanosciences de Paris

Help of the ANR 149,904 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2017 - 18 Months

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