We use spatially and angle-resolved cathodoluminescence imaging spectroscopy to study, with deep subwavelength resolution, the radiation mechanism of single plasmonic ridge antennas with lengths ranging from 100 to 2000 nm. We measure the antenna’s standing wave resonances up to the fifth order and measure the dispersion of the strongly confined guided plasmon mode. By directly detecting the emitted antenna radiation with a 2D CCD camera, we are able to measure the angular emission patterns associated with each individual antenna resonance. We demonstrate that the shortest ridges can be modeled as a single point-dipole emitter oriented either upward (m = 0) or in-plane (m = 1). The far-field emission pattern for longer antennas (m > 2) is well described by two interfering in-plane point dipoles at the end facets, giving rise to an angular fringe pattern, where the number of fringes increases as the antenna becomes longer. Taking advantage of the deep subwavelength excitation resolution of the cathodoluminescence technique, we are able to determine the antenna radiation pattern as a function of excitation position. By including the phase of the radiating dipoles into our simple dipole model, we completely reproduce this effect. This work demonstrates how angle-resolved cathodoluminescence spectroscopy can be used to fully determine the emission properties of subwavelength ridge antennas, which ultimately can be used for the design of more complex and efficient antenna structures.

ACS Nano
Photonic Materials

Coenen, T, Vesseur, Ernst Jan R, & Polman, A. (2012). Deep-subwavelength spatial characterization of angular emission from single-crystal Au plasmonic ridge nanoantennas. ACS Nano, 6(2), 1742–1750. doi:10.1021/nn204750d