Compact antenna for efficient and unidirectional launching and decoupling of surface plasmons

Nano Lett. 2011 Oct 12;11(10):4207-12. doi: 10.1021/nl202135w. Epub 2011 Sep 14.


Controlling the launching efficiencies and the directionality of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) and their decoupling to freely propagating light is a major goal for the development of plasmonic devices and systems. Here, we report on the design and experimental observation of a highly efficient unidirectional surface plasmon launcher composed of eleven subwavelength grooves, each with a distinct depth and width. Our observations show that, under normal illumination by a focused Gaussian beam, unidirectional SPP launching with an efficiency of at least 52% is achieved experimentally with a compact device of total length smaller than 8 μm. Reciprocally, we report that the same device can efficiently convert SPPs into a highly directive light beam emanating perpendicularly to the sample.