The well known advantages of using surface plasmons, in particular the high sensitivity to surface adsorbates, are nearly always compromised in practice by the use of monochromatic excitation and the consequent lack of proper spectroscopic information. This limitation arises from the angle/wavelength selective nature of the surface plasmon resonance. The work described here uses an elegant broadband excitation/decay scheme in a substrate(silica)-grating profiled photoresist-Ag film geometry. Laser radiation of wavelength 488 nm, incident through the silica substrate, excites by near-field coupling a broad band of surface plasmons at the photoresist-Ag interface within the spectral range of the photoresist fluorescence. With a judicious choice of grating period this mode can cross-couple to the mode supported at the Ag-air interface. This latter mode can, in turn, couple out to light by virtue of the same grating profile. The spectral distribution of the light emitted due to this three-step process has been studied as a function of the angle of emission and depth of the grating profiled surface for each polarization. It is found that the optimum emission efficiency occurs with a groove depth in the region of 65 nm. This is considerably greater than the optimum depth of 40 nm required for surface plasmon-photon coupling at a Ag-air interface or, in other words, for the last step of the process in isolation.
- THIN METAL-FILM
- MOLECULAR FLUORESCENCE