A nanoscale gap between two metal surfaces can confine propagating surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) to very small dimensions, but this geometry makes it inherently difficult to image SPP propagation at high resolution. We demonstrate the near-field probing of these SPPs, propagating within a 50 nm thick Si3N4 waveguide with Ag cladding layers for frequencies ranging from the blue to the near-infrared. Using near-field SPP interferometry, we determine the wave vector, showing that the wavelength is shortened to values as small as 156 nm for a free-space wavelength of 532 nm.

Nano Lett.
Photonic Materials

Verhagen, E., Dionne, J., Kuipers, K., Atwater, H., & Polman, A. (2008). Near-field visualization of strongly confined surface plasmon polaritons in metal-insulator-metal waveguides. Nano Lett., 8, 2925–2929. doi:10.1021/nl801781g