Abstract

The temporal coherence of propagating surface plasmons is investigated using a local, broadband plasmon source consisting of a scanning tunneling microscope. A variant of Young’s experiment is performed using a sample consisting of a 200-nm-thick gold film perforated by two 1-μm-diameter holes (separated by 4 or 6 μm). The resulting interference fringes are studied as a function of hole separation and source bandwidth. From these experiments, we conclude that apart from plasmon decay in the metal, there is no further loss of plasmon coherence from propagation, scattering at holes, or other dephasing processes. As a result, the plasmon coherence time may be estimated from its spectral bandwidth.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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