Abstract

A new method for optically exciting and visualizing surface plasmons in thin metal films is described. The technique relies on the use of a high-numerical-aperture objective lens to locally launch a broad wavelength spectrum of surface waves and to detect the leaky radiative modes associated with them. We used this approach to obtain a direct visualization of the plasmon intensity distributions, e.g., rainbow jets, and to quantify their propagation lengths throughout the visible spectrum.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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