Real-space mapping of nanoplasmonic hotspots via optical antenna-gap loading

S. Mastel, S. E. Grefe, G. B. Cross, A. Taber, S. Dhuey, S. Cabrini, P. J. Schuck, and Y. Abate

Applied Physics Letters 101, 131102 (2012)
Plasmonic hotspots located in the nanogaps of infrared optical antennas are mapped in the near-field. The enhanced evanescent field resonance is shown to depend strongly on excitation wavelength, the excitation and detection laser polarization, and gap size. In addition, we demonstrate that in nanogap hotspot imaging using scattering probes, the probe tip can be considered as a load in the gap of the antenna, and the impedance of the load can then be tuned from inductive to capacitive or vice versa by changing the dielectric value of the tip load. Experimental results are in agreement with finite-difference time-domain simulations.