Electrically-Excited Surface Plasmon Polaritons with Directionality Control

Zhaogang Dong, Hong-Son Chu, Di Zhu, Wei Du, Yuriy A. Akirnov, Wei Peng Goh, Tao Wang, Kuan Eng J. Goh, C. Troadec, Christian A. Nijhuis, Joel K. W. Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Compact electrical sources of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) are promising for integration with high-speed electronics. Being a highly compact source, the point dipole has the ability to directly couple to surface plasmon modes, and be electrically driven through the inelastic tunneling of electrons, for example, at the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM). However, the directional control of electrically excited SPPs from such compact sources has not been demonstrated, despite its importance in controlling the optical energy flow on a chip. In this paper, we present a comprehensive analysis of the directional excitation of SPPs on Au 1D cavity by moving an STM tip relative to the edge of the cavity stripe and analyzing the light collected through an inverted microscope. The directional propagation of the SPP and its far-field emission exhibit a clear cyclic dependence on the relative distance from this edge. These results provide key steps toward realizing compact solid-state devices with the ability to excite and direct the propagation of light.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-391
JournalACS photonics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • surface plasmon polaritons
  • directional excitation
  • electrical excitation
  • scanning tunneling microscope
  • dipole source


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