Journal article

Imaging and controlling plasmonic interference fields at buried interfaces

Capturing and controlling plasmons at buried interfaces with nanometre and femtosecond resolution has yet to be achieved and is critical for next generation plasmonic devices. Here we use light to excite plasmonic interference patterns at a buried metal-dielectric interface in a nanostructured thin film. Plasmons are launched from a photoexcited array of nanocavities and their propagation is followed via photon-induced near-field electron microscopy (PINEM). The resulting movie directly captures the plasmon dynamics, allowing quantification of their group velocity at similar to 0.3 times the speed of light, consistent with our theoretical predictions. Furthermore, we show that the light polarization and nanocavity design can be tailored to shape transient plasmonic gratings at the nanoscale. This work, demonstrating dynamical imaging with PINEM, paves the way for the femtosecond and nanometre visualization and control of plasmonic fields in advanced heterostructures based on novel two-dimensional materials such as graphene, MoS2, and ultrathin metal films.


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