Abstract

Interactions between light and conducting microstructures or nanostructures can result in a variety of novel phenomena, but their underlying mechanisms have not been completely understood. From calculations of surface charge density waves on conducting gratings and by comparing them with classical surface plasmons, we revealed a general yet concrete picture regarding the coupling of light to free electron oscillation on structured conducting surfaces that can lead to oscillating subwavelength charge patterns (i.e., structured surface plasmons). New wavelets emitted from these light sources then destructively interfere to form evanescent waves. This principle, usually combined with other mechanisms, is mainly a geometrical effect that can be universally involved in light scattering from all periodic and non-periodic structures containing free electrons. This picture may provide clear guidelines for developing conductor-based nano-optical devices.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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