Confining standing waves in optical corrals

Yelizaveta Babayan, Jeffrey M. McMahon, Shuzhou Li, Stephen K. Gray, George C Schatz, Teri W Odom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Near-field scanning optical microscopy images of solid wall, circular, and elliptical microscale corrals show standing wave patterns confined inside the structures with a wavelength close to that of the incident light. The patterns inside the corrals can be tuned by changing the size and material of the walls, the wavelength of incident light, and polarization direction for elliptical corrals. Finite-difference time-domain calculations of the corral structures agree with the experimental observations and reveal that the electric and magnetic field intensities are out of phase inside the corral. A theoretical modal analysis indicates that the fields inside the corrals can be attributed to p- and s-polarized waveguide modes, and that the superposition of the propagating and evanescent modes can explain the phase differences between the fields. These experimental and theoretical results demonstrate that electromagnetic fields on a dielectric surface can be controlled in a predictable manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-620
Number of pages6
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 24 2009


  • Dephasing
  • Finitedifference time-domain calculations
  • Metal microstructures
  • Near-field scanning optical microscopy
  • Waveguide modes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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