Optical oscillation modes of plasmon particles observed in direct space by phase-contrast near-field microscopy

R. Hillenbrand, and F. Keilmann

Applied Physics B 73, 239 (2001)
Light distributions near resonant metal nanoparticles are recorded by a scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscope (s-SNOM), for the first time with a sub-particle-size resolution (<10 nm) and with simultaneous amplitude and phase contrast. The images depict the optical oscillation patterns of single plasmon particles. Examples are presented of particles excited in dominantly dipolar and quadrupolar modes, and also of closely spaced particles sustaining a gap mode. The gap mode can provide enhanced optical fields in nanometric spots for non-linear and single-molecule spectroscopy applications.