A phased antenna array for surface plasmons

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Surface plasmon polaritons are electromagnetic waves that propagate tightly bound to metal surfaces. The concentration of the electromagnetic field at the surface as well as the short wavelength of surface plasmons enable sensitive detection methods and miniaturization of optics. We present an optical frequency plasmonic analog to the phased antenna array as it is well known in radar technology and radio astronomy. Individual holes in a thick gold film act as dipolar emitters of surface plasmon polaritons whose phase is controlled individually using a digital spatial light modulator. We show experimentally, using a phase sensitive near-field microscope, that this optical system allows accurate directional emission of surface waves. This compact and flexible method allows for dynamically shaping the propagation of plasmons and holds promise for nanophotonic applications employing propagating surface plasmons.
Original languageEnglish
Article number25037
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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