Dynamics of coupled plasmon polariton wave packets excited at a subwavelength slit in optically thin metal films

Lei Ming Wang*, Lingxiao Zhang, Tamar Seideman, Hrvoje Petek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We study by numerical simulations the excitation and propagation dynamics of coupled surface plasmon polariton (SPP) wave packets (WPs) in optically thin Ag films and a bulk Ag/vacuum interface under the illumination of a subwavelength slit by 400 nm continuous wave (cw) and femtosecond pulsed light. The generated surface fields include contributions from both SPPs and quasicylindrical waves, which dominate in different regimes. We explore aspects of the coupled SPP modes in Ag thin films, including symmetry, propagation, attenuation, and the variation of coupling with incident angle and film thickness. Simulations of the electromagnetic transients initiated with femtosecond pulses reveal new features of coupled SPP WP generation and propagation in thin Ag films. Our results show that, under pulsed excitation, the SPP modes in an Ag thin film break up into two distinct bound surface wave packets characterized by marked differences in symmetries, group velocities, attenuation lengths, and dispersion properties. The nanometer spatial and femtosecond temporal scale excitation and propagation dynamics of the coupled SPP WPs are revealed in detail by movies recording the evolution of their transient field distributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number165408
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 5 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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