Abstract

We consider an attenuated total reflection prism-coupling geometry used to excite surface-plasmon waves along a metal film, bounded by a substrate with an intensity-dependent dielectric constant. Nonlinear wave theory is developed in the infinite incident plane-wave approximation, assuming a dielectric constant proportional to the square of the electric field normal to the film. We calculate the intensity required to observe bistability in the reflected intensity by excitation of the nonlinear, long-range surface plasmon and find it to be 2 orders of magnitude less than that required for the nonlinear, single-surface plasmon. We compare the nonlinear wave analysis with other approaches and illustrate the effects of the sign of the nonlinearity and of a nonlinear coupling layer.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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