We present a straightforward method to realize nonplanar dielectric structures with a controlled height profile for use in calibration of fluorophores. Calibration of fluorescence quantum efficiency and intrinsic radiative and nonradiative decay rates of emitters is possible by using changes in the local density of optical states, provided one can control the emitter–surface distance with nanometer accuracy. We realize a method that is accurate yet fast to implement. We fabricate PMMA wedges (4 mm × 4 mm × 2 μm) by gray-tone UV-lithography of Shipley S1813G2. Its applicability as a dielectric spacer is demonstrated in Drexhage experiments for three different emitters in the visible and near-infrared wavelength regime. The decay-rate dependence of the fluorescent state of emitters on the distance to a silver mirror is observed and compared to calculations based on the local density of states. Quantitative values for (non)radiative decay rates and quantum efficiencies are extracted. Furthermore, we discuss how Drexhage experiments can help to scrutinize the validity of effective material parameters of metamaterials in the near field regime.

J. Phys. Chem. C
Resonant Nanophotonics

Kwadrin, A., & Koenderink, F. (2012). Gray-tone lithography implementation of Drexhage's method for calibrating radiative and nonradiative decay constants of fluorophores. J. Phys. Chem. C, 116(31), 16666–16673. doi:10.1021/jp3048423