We observe experimentally that the reflectances of metal–dielectric nanocomposite films in the Kretschmann configuration show different characteristics, depending on the metal fill fraction f, that fall into one of three distinct regimes. In the “metallic” regime, in which f is large, the film supports conventional surface-plasmon polaritons (SPPs), and one can tailor the properties of the SPPs by controlling the value of f. In the “dielectric” regime, in which f is small, the film does not support any surface modes. In the intermediate “lossy” regime, the nanocomposite film supports a SPP mode that is different from that of a “metallic” film. These results are explained by using an anisotropic effective medium model and mode analysis.
© 2009 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: August 12, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: October 1, 2009
Published: November 11, 2009
Zhimin Shi, Giovanni Piredda, Andreas C. Liapis, Mark A. Nelson, Lukas Novotny, and Robert W. Boyd, "Surface-plasmon polaritons on metal-dielectric nanocomposite films," Opt. Lett. 34, 3535-3537 (2009)