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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Jul 2;105(1):017402. Epub 2010 Jun 29.

Ultrafast all-optical coupling of light to surface plasmon polaritons on plain metal surfaces.

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  • 1Department of Physics and Institute for Optical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A7 Canada. nrotenbe@physics.utoronto.ca


We propose and demonstrate an ultrafast all-optical method to couple light to surface plasmon polaritons on planar gold films. By interfering two 150 fs, 810 nm pulses we excite a transient grating in the temperature of the free electrons of the metal, resulting in a grating in the dielectric function, and leading to a 1 ps launch window for plasmonic excitation. We use pump-probe experiments to identify these ultrashort plasmonic excitations between 520 and 570 nm.

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