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Diffraction-Based Tracking of Surface Plasmon Resonance Enhanced Transmission Through a Gold-Coated Grating

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journal contribution
posted on 01.08.2011, 00:00 by Wei-Hsun Yeh, Joseph W. Petefish, Andrew C. Hillier
Surface plasmon resonance enhanced transmission through metal-coated nanostructures represents a highly sensitive yet simple method for quantitative measurement of surface processes and is particularly useful in the development of thin film and adsorption sensors. Diffraction-induced surface plasmon excitation can produce enhanced transmission at select regions of the visible spectrum, and wavelength shifts associated with these transmission peaks can be used to track adsorption processes and film formation. In this report, we describe a simple optical microscope-based method for monitoring the first-order diffracted peaks associated with enhanced transmission through a gold-coated diffraction grating. A Bertrand lens is used to focus the grating’s diffraction image onto a CCD camera, and the spatial position of the diffracted peaks can be readily transformed into a spectral signature of the transmitted light without the use of a spectrometer. The surface plasmon peaks appear as a region of enhanced transmission when the sample is illuminated with p-polarized light, and the peak position reflects the local dielectric properties of the metal interface, including the presence of thin films. The ability to track the position of the plasmon peak and, thus, measure film thickness is demonstrated using the diffracted peaks for samples possessing thin films of silicon oxide. The experimental results are then compared with calculations of optical diffraction through a model, film-coated grating using the rigorously coupled wave analysis simulation method.