Local Excitation, Scattering, and Interference of Surface Plasmons

The aperture probe of a near--field optical microscope (``TNOM'' configuration) can act as a point source of surface plasmon (SP) polaritons on gold and silver films by means of its evanescent optical
field. SP excitation reveals itself by the emission of a pair of sharply confined crescent-shaped light beams oriented in the direction of the SP resonance angle; the excitation also gives rise to peculiar ``approach curves'' and interference-like intensity undulations in the scan images. These findings introduce a new way to study local-scale plasmon scattering phenomena. (Dept480)

By: B. Hecht, D. W. Pohl and L. Novotny (ETH, Zurich, Switz.)

Published in: Physical Review Letters, volume 77, (no 9), pages 1889-92 in 1996

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