Plasmonic band structure controls single-molecule fluorescence
Plasmonics and photonic crystals are two complementary approaches to tailor single emitter fluorescence, using strong local field enhancements near metals on one hand, and spatially extended photonic band structure effects on the other hand. Here, we explore the emergence of spontaneous emission control by finite-sized hexagonal arrays of nanoapertures milled in gold film. We demonstrate that already small lattices enable highly directional and enhanced emission from single fluorescent molecules in the central aperture. Even for clusters just four unit cells across, the directionality is set by the plasmonic crystal band structure, as confirmed by full-wave numerical simulations. This realization of plasmonic phase array antennas driven by single quantum emitters opens a flexible toolbox to engineer fluorescence and its detection.