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March 24th 2017

Frimmer carried out his research at FOM Institute AMOLF, under the supervision of professor Femius Koenderink. On 14 November 2012 he defended his thesis at the University of Amsterdam. The FOM Physics Thesis Prize jury is particularly impressed by the superb readability of Frimmer's thesis as well as the depth of his scientific analysis.

In his thesis Frimmer describes how the emission of light by quantum light sources can be manipulated with nanostructures. Quantum light sources emit light through spontaneous emission: a molecule spontaneously absorbs energy and subsequently releases this in the form of a light particle. Frimmer's research concentrated on the influence of so-called optical antennas on light.

An optical antenna is a metal particle. The optical antenna functions in a comparable manner to a radio antenna. Whereas radio antennas make the transmission of radio signals more efficient, the million-times smaller optical antennas respond to the wavelength of visible light. Frimmer discovered that unexpected effects occur if a molecule emits light in the presence of an optical antenna and a larger optical structure. The larger structure was found to reduce the emission amplification of the antenna. In his thesis, Frimmer provides both theoretical and experimental support for this phenomenon. This find throws new light on the usability of the system as a 'superemitter' in micro- and nanophotonic structures.

Frimmer's thesis also describes an entirely new experimental method: scanning emitter fluorescence life-time imaging. This method combines the high spatial resolution of near-field imaging with the versatility of fluorescent life-time imaging. The method enabled Frimmer to measure the light in the vicinity of the metal nanostructures.

Frimmer's work has yielded several publications including four articles in Physical Review Letters, of which three as first author. These publications are frequently cited, which underlines the impact of the work. The jury considers Frimmer's publication list to be 'particularly impressive'.

Each year, FOM awards the FOM Physics Thesis Prize to the best physics thesis defended at a Dutch university. The prize includes a sum of 10,000 euros that the winner can use as he or she wishes. Frimmer will receive his prize on 21 January 2014 during the Physics@FOM Veldhoven congress. On Wednesday 22 January he will also present his work there.

For further information about the winning thesis please contact:
Dr. Martin Frimmer, +41 (0)44 633 06 12
See also the website of the AMOLF research group
For further information about the FOM prizes please see the FOM website

Spontaneous emission near resonant optical antennas