Local density of electromagnetic states in plasmonic nanotapers: spatial resolution limits with nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond nanospheres
One of the most explored single quantum emitters for the development of nanoscale fluorescence lifetime imaging is the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) color center in diamond. An NV center does not experience fluorescence bleaching or blinking at room temperature. Furthermore, its optical properties are preserved when embedded into nanodiamond hosts. This paper focuses on the modeling of the local density of states (LDOS) in a plasmonic nanofocusing structure with an NV center acting as local illumination sources. Numerical calculations of the LDOS near such a nanostructure were done with a classical electric dipole radiation placed inside a diamond sphere as well as near-field optical fluorescence lifetime imaging of the structure. We found that Purcell factors higher than ten can be reached with diamond nanospheres of radius less than 5 nm and at a distance of less than 20 nm from the surface of the structure. Although the spatial resolution of the experiment is limited by the size of the nanodiamond, our work supports the analysis and interpretation of a single NV color center in a nanodiamond as a probe for scanning near-field optical microscopy.