Optical nanoantennas mediate optical coupling between single emitters and the far field, making both light emission and reception more effective. Probing the response of a nanoantenna as a function of position requires accurate positioning of a subwavelength sized emitter with known orientation. Here we present a novel experimental technique that uses a high-energy electron beam as broad band point dipole source of visible radiation, to study the emission properties of a Yagi–Uda antenna composed of a linear array of Au nanoparticles. We show angle-resolved emission spectra for different wavelengths and find evidence for directional emission of light that depends strongly on where the antenna is excited. We demonstrate that the experimental results can be explained by a coupled point dipole model which includes the effect of the dielectric substrate. This work establishes angle-resolved cathodoluminescence spectroscopy as a powerful technique tool to characterize single optical nanoantennas.

Nano Lett.
Photonic Materials

Coenen, T., Vesseur, E. J. R., Polman, A., & Koenderink, F. (2011). Directional emission from plasmonic Yagi-Uda antennas probed by angle-resolved cathodoluminescence. Nano Lett., 11(9), 3779–3784. doi:10.1021/nl201839g