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Electrical excitation of surface plasmons with a scanning tunneling microscope

Abstract : For the first time, using a equipment combining a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and an invertedoptical microscope, we excite and directly image STM-excited broadband propagating surface plasmons ona thin gold film. The STM-excited propagating surface plasmons have been imaged both in real space andFourier space by leakage radiation microscopy. Broadband localized surface plasmons due to the tip-goldfilm coupled plasmon resonance have also been detected. Quantitatively, we compare the intensities ofSTM-excited propagating and localized surface plasmons obtained with different STM tips. We find that the intensity of each plasmon mode can be selectively varied by changing the STM tip shape or material composition. A silver tip produces a high intensity of localized surface plasmons whereas a sharp (radius < 100 nm) tungsten tip produces mainly propagating surface plasmons. We have investigated the coherence of STM-excited propagating surface plasmons by performingexperiments on a 200 nm thick (opaque) gold film punctured by pairs of nanoholes. This work is analogousto Young’s double-slit experiment, and shows that STM-excited propagating surface plasmons have acoherence length of 4.7±0.5 μm. This coherent length is very close to the value 3.7±1.2 μm expected fromthe spectrum, which indicates that the spectrum broadening of STM-excited surface plasmons ishomogeneous. We have also studied the in-plane and radiative scattering of STM-excited propagating surface plasmons bygold nanoparticles deposited on a 50 nm thick gold film. In the Fourier space images, interference fringesare observed in the forbidden light region. This interference occurs between STM-excited localized surfaceplasmons (radiating at large angles from the tip position) and the radiative scattering by the goldnanoparticle of STM-excited propagating surface plasmons. This indicates that STM-excited localized andpropagating surface plasmons are different components of the same single plasmon produced by inelasticelectron tunneling with the STM tip. These results not only broaden the understanding about the excitation process of STM excited surface plasmons but also offer interesting perspectives for the connection between nanoelectronics andnanophotonics.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 1:02:40 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00868784, version 1

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Tao Wang. Electrical excitation of surface plasmons with a scanning tunneling microscope. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PA112141⟩. ⟨tel-00868784⟩

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