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J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis. 2001 Jul;18(7):1477-86.

Diffraction by a subwavelength-sized aperture in a metal plane.

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  • 1Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Basic Research Laboratories, Kanagawa, Japan.


We present an experimental study on the diffraction of light by an aperture small compared with the wavelength. The aperture is illuminated by laser light guided in a metal-clad tapered optical fiber. We investigate different orientations of the aperture in the plane: normal to the cleaved plane, oblique to the cleaved plane, and off-center. We measure the far-field, two-dimensional intensity distributions of the diffracted light as functions of angle coordinates theta and phi in a full half-space for various polarization states and analyze the patterns by using low-order multipole fields. We also examine the near- and far-field effects of placing small periodic corrugations near the aperture, focusing on the role of surface-wave excitations. We measure the near-field intensity distributions near the aperture with a near-field scanning optical microscope and discuss their relation to the far-field diffracted fields.

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