The periodic structure of a photonic crystal causes the propagating waves to be governed by Blochs theorem: they are composed of multiple wave vectors or harmonics. We found, by measuring the field with phase-sensitive near-field microscopy, that the evanescent field of the composite Bloch wave decays nonexponentially as a function of height. Even the individual Bloch harmonics, having only a single wave vector along the propagation direction, do not necessarily decay single exponentially, which has its origin in the spread of wave vectors required to confine the light to the waveguide. The complex decay leads to an evolution of the mode pattern as a function of the height above the structure.

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Journal Phys. Rev. Lett.
Engelen, R. J. P, Mori, D, Baba, T, & Kuipers, L. (2009). Subwavelength structure of the evanescent field of an optical Bloch wave. Phys.Rev.Lett., 102(Article number: 23902), 1–4. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.102.023902