Direct Characterization of Near-Field Coupling in Gap Plasmon-Based Metasurfaces

R. Deshpande, V. A. Zenin, F. Ding, N. A. Mortensen and S. I. Bozhevolnyi

Nanoletters 19, 6265 (2018)
Metasurfaces based on gap surface-plasmon resonators allow one to arbitrarily control the phase, amplitude, and polarization of reflected light with high efficiency. However, the performance of densely packed metasurfaces is reduced, often quite significantly, in comparison with simple analytical predictions. We argue that this reduction is mainly because of the near-field coupling between metasurface elements, which results in response from each element being different from the one anticipated by design simulations, which are commonly conducted for each individual element being placed in an artificial periodic arrangement. In order to study the influence of near-field coupling, we fabricate meta-elements of varying sizes arranged in quasi-periodic arrays so that the immediate environment of same size elements is different for those located in the middle and at the border of the arrays. We study the near-field using a phase-resolved scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) and conducting numerical simulations. By comparing the near-field maps from elements of the same size but different placements we evaluate the near-field coupling strength, which is found to be significant for large and densely packed elements. This technique is quite generic and can be used practically for any metasurface type in order to precisely measure the near-field response from each individual element and identify malfunctioning ones, providing feedback to their design and fabrication, thereby allowing one to improve the efficiency of the whole metasurface.