Using near-field scanning optical microscopy and ultrafast laser spectroscopy, we study the linear optical properties of subwavelength nanoslit and nanohole arrays in metal films, which are prototype structures for novel plasmonic metamaterials. Near-field microscopy provides direct evidence for surface plasmon polariton (SPP) excitation and allows for spatial imaging of the corresponding SPP modes. By employing spectral interferometry with ultrashort 11-fs light pulses, we directly reconstruct the temporal structure of the electric field of these pulses as they are transmitted through the metallic nanostructures. The analysis of these data allows for a quantitative extraction of the plasmonic band structure and the radiative damping of the corresponding SPP modes. Clear evidence for plasmonic band gap formation is given. Our results reveal that the coherent coupling between different SPP modes can result in a pronounced suppression of radiative SPP damping, increasing the SPP lifetime from 30 fs to more than 200 fs. These findings are relevant for optimizing and manipulating the optical properties of novel nano-plasmonic devices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)