Abstract

Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) have emerged as powerful tools for guiding and manipulating light below the diffraction limit. In this context, the availability of flat top SPP beams displaying a constant transversal profile can allow for uniform excitation and coupling scenarios, thus opening the door to developing novel applications that cannot be achieved using conventional Gaussian SPP beams. Here, we present a rigorous theoretical description of flat top SPP beams propagating along flat metal-dielectric interfaces. This is accomplished through the use of Hermite–Gaussian SPP modes that constitute a complete basis set for the solutions of Maxwell’s equations for a metal-dielectric interface in the paraxial approximation. We provide a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the transversal profiles of these beams as they propagate, which is complemented with the study of the width and kurtosis parameters. Our results serve to enlarge the capabilities of surface plasmon polaritons to control and manipulate light below the diffraction limit.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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