In this paper, we report on the effect of metal oxidation on strong coupling interactions between silver nanostructures and a J-aggregated cyanine dye. We show that metal oxidation can sensibly affect the plexcitonic system, inducing a change in the coupling strength. In particular, we demonstrate that the presence of oxide prevents the appearance of Rabi splitting in the extinction spectra for thick spacers. In contrast, below a threshold percentage, the oxide layer results in an higher coupling strength between the plasmon and the Frenkel exciton. Contrary to common belief, a thin oxide layer seems thus to act, under certain conditions, as a coupling mediator between an emitter and a localized surface plasmon excited in a metallic nanostructure. This suggests that metal oxidation can be exploited as a means to enhance light-matter interactions in strong coupling applications.
Keywords: Rabi splitting; oxidation; plasmon; plexciton; strong coupling.