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Nature. 2008 Apr 10;452(7188):728-31. doi: 10.1038/nature06762.

Microscopic theory of the extraordinary optical transmission.

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  • 1Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l'Institut d'Optique, CNRS, Univ. Paris-Sud, Campus Polytechnique, RD 128, 91127 Palaiseau cedex, France.


The phenomenon of extraordinary light transmission through metallic films perforated by nanohole arrays at optical frequencies was first observed a decade ago and initiated important further experimental and theoretical work. In view of potential applications of such structures--for example, subwavelength optics, optoelectronics devices, and chemical sensing--it is important to understand the underlying physical processes in detail. Here we derive a microscopic theory of the transmission through subwavelength hole arrays, by considering the elementary processes associated with scattering of surface-plasmon-polariton (SPP) modes by individual one-dimensional chains of subwavelength holes. Using a SPP coupled-mode model that coherently gathers these elementary processes, we derive analytical expressions for all the transmission spectrum characteristics--such as the resonance wavelength, the peak transmission and the anti-resonance. Further comparisons of the model predictions with fully vectorial computational results allow us quantitatively to check the model accuracy and to discuss the respective impacts of SPP modes and of other electromagnetic fields on producing the extraordinary transmission of light. The model greatly expands our understanding of the phenomenon and may affect further engineering of nanoplasmonic devices.

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