With the use of optical near-field techniques, it is now possible to excite or observe surface plasmons with high lateral resolution. A theoretical study is presented of surface plasmon excitation by near-field optical probes and the influence of well-defined structures on surface plasmon propagation and surface plasmon detection in the far field. The generation and the diffraction of the surface plasmon is calculated by using a theoretical scheme founded upon a first-order perturbation expansion of the Rayleigh–Fano method. A very good agreement is obtained between numerical and experimental results. The theoretical tools used should prove a useful guideline for future experiments of nanooptics with surface plasmons.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: September 12, 2000
Revised Manuscript: December 14, 2000
Manuscript Accepted: December 14, 2000
Published: July 1, 2001
Fadi Issam Baida, Daniel Van Labeke, Alexandre Bouhelier, Thomas Huser, and Dieter Wolfgang Pohl, "Propagation and diffraction of locally excited surface plasmons," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 18, 1552-1561 (2001)