Paper: 2010 Near-field localization in plasmonic superfocusing: A nanoemitter on a tip

Near-field localization in plasmonic superfocusing: A nanoemitter on a tip

Reviews and Highlights Quantum Science Molecular and Soft-matter Ultrafast Nano-optics and Nanophotonics Mineralogy and Geochemistry

C.C. Neacsu, S. Berweger, R.L. Olmon, L.V. Saraf, C. Ropers, and M.B. Raschke
Nano Lett.  10, 592 (2010)

Focusing light to subwavelength dimensions has been a long-standing desire in optics but has remained challenging, even with new strategies based on near-field effects, polaritons, and metamaterials. The adiabatic propagation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPP) on a conical taper as proposed theoretically has recently emerged as particularly promising to obtain a nanoconfined light source at the tip. Employing grating-coupling of SPPs onto gold tips, we demonstrate plasmonic nanofocusing into a localized excitation of ∼20 nm in size and investigate its near- and far-field behavior. For cone angles of ∼10−20°, the breakdown of the adiabatic propagation conditions is found to be localized at or near the apex region with ∼10 nm radius. Despite an asymmetric side-on SPP excitation, the apex far-field emission with axial polarization characteristics representing a radially symmetric SPP mode in the nanofocus confirms that the conical tip acts as an effective mode filter with only the fundamental radially symmetric TM mode (m = 0) propagating to the apex. We demonstrate the use of these tips as a source for nearly background-free scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM).