Long-range surface polaritons in ultra-thin films of silicon
We present an experimental and theoretical study of the optical excitation of long-range surface polaritons supported by thin layers of amorphous silicon (a-Si). The large imaginary part of the dielectric constant of a-Si at visible and ultraviolet (UV) frequencies allows the excitation of surface polariton modes similar to long-range surface plasmon polaritons on metals. Propagation of these modes along considerable distances is possible because the electric field is largely excluded from the absorbing thin film. We show that by decreasing the thickness of the Si layer these excitations can be extended up to UV frequencies, opening the possibility to surface polariton UV optics compatible with standard Si technology.