We show that interfering surface plasmon polaritons can be excited with a focused laser beam at normal incidence to a plane metal film. No protrusions or holes are needed in this excitation scheme. Depending on the axial position of the focus, the intensity distribution on the metal surface is either dominated by interferences between counterpropagating plasmons or by a two-lobe pattern characteristic of localized surface plasmon excitation. Our experiments can be accurately explained by use of the angular spectrum representation and provide a simple means for locally exciting standing surface plasmon polaritons.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
Optics at Surfaces
Original Manuscript: May 2, 2007
Revised Manuscript: July 23, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: July 23, 2007
Published: August 20, 2007
A. Bouhelier, F. Ignatovich, A. Bruyant, C. Huang, G. Colas des Francs, J.-C. Weeber, A. Dereux, G. P. Wiederrecht, and L. Novotny, "Surface plasmon interference excited by tightly focused laser beams," Opt. Lett. 32, 2535-2537 (2007)