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Opt Express. 2011 Aug 15;19(17):16139-53. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.016139.

The electromagnetics of light transmission through subwavelength slits in metallic films.

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  • 1Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 6203, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA.


By numerically calculating the relevant electromagnetic fields and charge current densities, we show how local charges and currents near subwavelength structures govern light transmission through subwavelength apertures in a real metal film. The illumination of a single aperture generates surface waves; and in the case of slits, generates them with high efficiency and with a phase close to -π with respect to a reference standing wave established at the metal film front facet. This phase shift is due to the direction of induced charge currents running within the slit walls. The surface waves on the entrance facet interfere with the standing wave. This interference controls the profile of the transmission through slit pairs as a function of their separation. We compare the calculated transmission profile for a two-slit array to simple interference models and measurements [Phys. Rev. B 77(11), 115411 (2008)].

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