Bibliographic resources
Bibliography mandatory
Bibliography not mandatory
Summary Teaching Assignment
Academic Year 2018/2019
School School of Industrial and Information Engineering
Course 096061 - MICRO- AND NANO-OPTICS [C.I.]
  • 096060 - MICRO AND NANOOPTICS [2]
Cfu 5.00 Type of Course Module
Lecturers: Titolare (Co-titolari) Della Valle Giuseppe

Programme Track From (included) To (excluded) Course
096510 - NANO OPTICS


The Aim of the course is threefold: (i) to introduce the student to the theoretical foundations and main applications of Nanooptics; (ii) to provide the student with a set of advanced tools and methods for the design and quantitative description of optical components and devices at the nanoscale; (iii) to give the student the theoretical basis for the understanding of highly innovative topics in modern Photonics.

Expected learning outcomes
  • The student understands the physical basis of the optical phenomena taking place at the nanoscale.
  • The student knows the guidelines for the modeling and design of nanooptical devices.
  • The student is aware of the key functionalities and challenges in nanooptics.

The student is able to apply the basic knowledge described above for:

  • explaining the operating principles of some prototypal optical devices at the nanoscale, with particular attention to their quantitative description and to the validity limits of the models under consideration;
  • solving simple problems in dielectric periodic media, metal based (plasmonic) nanostructures and metamaterials;
  • understanding new trends in the high-tech market (from IT highways, to lab-on-chip and nanomedicine) dealing with advanced photonic structures.


1. Theoretical Foundations of Nanooptics. Electromagnetism as an eigenvalue problem: electromagnetic harmonic modes, symmetries and classification of harmonic modes. Scaling properties of Maxwell's equations. Wave propagation in homogeneous and inhomogeneous media: angular spectrum representation, TE-TM decomposition, scalar diffraction theories, optical Schroedinger equation.

2. Photonic Crystals. Generalities on periodic lattices. Bloch electromagnetic theorem. Photonic band structure. One-dimensional PCs: periodic layered media, band states and gap states, surface states and bulk defect states. Applications to Bragg reflectors and filters, omnidirectional dielectric mirrors, photonic Bragg fibers. Two-dimensional PCs: a polarization-indepenendent band-gap, point and line defects and application to PC cavities and waveguides, out-of-plane propagation and PC fibers. PC Interfaces: negative refraction and superprism effect.

3. Near-field Optics. Evanescent waves. The diffraction limit to optical imaging. From the far-field to the near-field. Introduction to near-field optical microscopy and applications.

4. Plasmonics. Optical properties of noble metals. Surface Plasmon Polaritons (SPPs): derivation of the SPPs dispersion equation, optical properties of SPPs, excitation and detection of SPPs, plasmon-polaritons in thin metallic films (SR/LR-SPPs). Introduction to plasmonic waveguides. Localized plasmons (LPs): quasistatic theory of localized plasmonic resonances in noble metal nanospheres, optical properties of metallic nanoparticles (resonant polarizability, absorption and scattering cross-sections, field-enhancement, resonance tuning). Introduction to plasmonic nanosensing (SPR and SERS).

5. Metamaterials. Negative dielectric media. Artificial magnetism and materials with negative magnetic permeability (stack of metal cylinders, split ring resonators). Negative refractive index materials (NRM) and the effects of a reversed wave-vector. Surface electromagnetic modes in NRMs and Pendry's Perfect Lens. Experimental evidence of super-lenses with real materials. Introduction to Transformation Optics for the steering of light and cloacking of objects.


No pre-requisites, but the teaching makes use of the basic concepts of Optics and Electromagnetism.


Written examination, optionally followed by an oral examination. The written exam consists of open questions (typically 2 questions to be solved in 1 hour and 45 minutes), aimed at ascertaining:

  • the understanding of the physical basis of the optical phenomena at the nanoscale;
  • the knowledge of the definitions, theorems and general concepts dealing with optical nanomaterials, including photonic crystals, plasmonic nanostructures and metamaterials;
  • the capability to discuss, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the performance of prototypal nanooptical devices as a function of their key parameters.

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaNotes and handouts edited by the teacher https://beep.metid.polimi.it/
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaL. Novotny, B. Hecht, Principles of Nano-Optics, Editore: Cambridge University Press, (II Ed.), Anno edizione: 2012, ISBN: 978-0-511-81353-5
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaJ. D. Joannopoulos, S. G. Johnson, J. N. Winn, R. D. Meade, Photonic Crystals - Molding the Flow of Light, Editore: Princeton University Press, (II Ed.), Anno edizione: 2008, ISBN: 978-0-691-12456-8
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaW. Cai, V. Shalaev, Optical Metamaterials: Fundamentals and Applications, Editore: Springer, Anno edizione: 2010, ISBN: 978-1-4419-1151-3

Software used
No software required

Learning format(s)
Type of didactic form Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Computer Laboratory
Experimental Laboratory
Project Laboratory
Total 50:00 75:00

Information in English to support internationalization
Course offered in English
Study material/slides available in English
Textbook/Bibliography available in English
It is possible to take the examination in English
schedaincarico v. 1.10.0 / 1.10.0
Area Servizi ICT