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Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Feb 4;88(5):057403. Epub 2002 Jan 18.

Negative role of surface plasmons in the transmission of metallic gratings with very narrow slits.

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  • 1Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l'Institut d'Optique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, BP 147, F-91403 Orsay Cedex, France.


It is generally admitted that the extraordinary transmission of metallic grating with very narrow slits is mainly due to the excitation of surface plasmons on the upper and lower interfaces of the grating. We show that the surface plasmon contribution is not the prime effect and that waveguide mode resonance and diffraction are responsible for the extraordinary transmission. Additionally and surprisingly, we reveal that the transmittance of subwavelength metallic gratings is always nearly zero for frequencies corresponding to surface plasmon excitation. This finding implies that surface plasmons play a negative role in the transmission.

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