Surface plasmon polariton propagation across a gentle silver step

Paul Dawson, B.A.F. Puygranier, Y. Lacroute, J.P. Goudonnet

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) are excited with light of wavelength lambda (1) = 632.8 nm on or near a gentle Ag/Ag step structure using focused beam, prism coupling and detected using a bare, sharpened fibre tip. The tip-sample separation is controlled by means of an evanescent optical field at wavelength lambda (2) = 543.5 nm in a photon scanning tunnelling microscope (PSTM). The SPP propagation properties are first characterised on both the thin and thick sections of the Ag film structure either side of the step, both macroscopically, using attenuated total reflection, and microscopically from the PSTM images; the two techniques yield very good agreement. It is found that the SPP propagation length is similar to 10-11 mum across the step in each direction (thick to thin and vice versa) as observed in the PSTM images. Thus, with reference to the propagation lengths of 14.2 and 11.7 mum for the thick and thin planar parts of the Ag film respectively, it is concluded that the SPPs negotiate the step reasonably successfully. Importantly, also, it is shown that images may be produced, displaying SPPs with either an artificially enhanced (similar to 15-20 mum) or truncated (5-8 mum) propagation length across the step. Consideration of such images leads us to suggest the possibility that the photon tunnelling occurs in a local water environment. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalSurface Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces

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    Dawson, P., Puygranier, B. A. F., Lacroute, Y., & Goudonnet, J. P. (2001). Surface plasmon polariton propagation across a gentle silver step. Surface Science, 490(1-2)(1-2), 85-98.