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Published September 15, 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

Loss mechanisms of surface plasmon polaritons on gold probed by cathodoluminescence imaging spectroscopy


We use cathodoluminescence imaging spectroscopy to excite surface plasmon polaritons and measure their decay length on single crystal and polycrystalline gold surfaces. The surface plasmon polaritons are excited on the gold surface by a nanoscale focused electron beam and are coupled into free space radiation by gratings fabricated into the surface. By scanning the electron beam on a line perpendicular to the gratings, the propagation length is determined. Data for single-crystal gold are in agreement with calculations based on dielectric constants. For polycrystalline films, grain boundary scattering is identified as additional loss mechanism, with a scattering coefficient SG=0.2%.

Additional Information

© 2008 American Institute of Physics. Received 4 April 2008; accepted 29 August 2008; published 18 September 2008. This work is part of the research program Microscopy and modification of nanostructures (MMN) with focused electron and ion beams of FOM, which is financially supported by NWO. The MMN program is co-financed by FEI Co. This work is also funded by NANONED, a nanotechnology program of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Work at Caltech is financially supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under MURI Grant No. FA9550-04-1-0434.

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