Using Bloch modes to study the extraordinary transmission of light through a periodic array of slits in a metallic host, we discuss the differing roles of surface plasmon polaritons and Wood’s anomalies in the observed behavior of such structures. Under certain circumstances, the first few excited modes appear to play a decisive role in determining the transmission efficiency of the array. Surface plasmon excitations tend to reduce the transmissivity of a semi-infinitely thick slit array, yet, paradoxically, the same reduction can account for enhanced transmission in an array of finite thickness τ, provided that τ is tuned to a Fabry-Perot-like resonance between the entrance and exit facets of the slit array. At the Wood anomaly, power redistribution produces sharp peaks in the diffraction efficiencies of various reflected and transmitted orders of the semi-infinite structure. With skew incidence, the degenerate states split, resulting in two peaks and two valleys, as observed by Wood in his 1902 experiments.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
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