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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Malte: DM: Phase characterisation of plasmons

The field of plasmonics promises a brave new world of microprocessing, sensing and low-power nonlinear optics. Existing approaches to measuring plasmon fields using streaking are very involved, so an all-optical method to catch a glimpse of the surface dynamics is highly desirable. I carried out spectral interferometry on the reflected residual pump beam used to excite surface plasmon polaritons on a diffraction grating in order to characterise the phase of the propagating plasmon. I furthermore simulated the experimental situation using FDTD methods to connect the far-field results to the surface fields. Initial results show qualitative agreement between experiment and simulation, with the latter most likely critically limited by computational resources. As such, the progress so far demonstrates that the technique can indeed yield information about the plasmon dynamics in the far field with comparatively little experimental effort.