We perform spectrally resolved cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging nanoscopy using a 30 keV electron beam to identify the resonant modes of an ultrathin (20 nm), laterally tapered plasmonic Ag nanostrip antenna. We resolve with deep-subwavelength resolution four antenna resonances (resonance orders m = 2-5) that are ascribed to surface plasmon polariton standing waves that are confined on the strip. We map the local density of states on the strip surface and show that it has contributions from symmetric and antisymmetric surface plasmon polariton modes, each with a very different mode index. This work illustrates the power of CL experiments that can visualize hidden modes that for symmetry reasons have been elusive in optical light scattering experiments.

Nano Lett.
Photonic Materials

Barnard, E. S., Coenen, T., Vesseur, E. J. R., Polman, A., & Brongersma, M. (2011). Imaging of hidden modes in ultra-thin plasmonic strip antennas by cathodoluminescence. Nano Lett., 11(10), 4265–4269. doi:10.1021/nl202256k