A detailed study of light absorption by silver gratings having two-dimensional periodicity is presented for structures constructed either of channels or of holes with subwavelength dimensions. Rigorous numerical modelling shows a systematic difference between the two structures: hole (cavity) gratings can strongly absorb light provided the cavity is sufficiently deep, when compared to the wavelength, whereas very thin channel gratings can induce total absorption. A detailed analysis is given in the limit when the period tends towards zero, and an explanation of the differences in behavior is presented using the properties of effective optical index of the metamaterial layer that substitutes the periodical structure in the limit when the period tend to zero.
©2012 Optical Society of America
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