Mechanism of prism-coupled scanning tunneling microscope light emission

Wataru Iida, Jamal U. Ahamed, Satoshi Katano, Yoichi Uehara

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3 Citations (Scopus)


We have investigated the mechanism of scanning tunneling microscope light emission (STM-LE) in a prism-coupled configuration using finite difference time domain analysis. In this configuration, the sample is a metallic thin film evaporated on the bottom surface of a hemispherical glass prism. STM light emitted into the prism (prism-side emission) through the metallic film is measured. Since both localized surface plasmons (LSP) and surface plasmon polaritons (SPP) contribute to prism-side emission, this emission is stronger than that in conventional STM-LE measured from the sample surface side, which is radiated by LSP alone. We show that the spatial resolution of prism-side emission is determined not by the propagation length of SPP, but by the lateral size of LSP, similarly to conventional (i.e., tip side) STM-LE. Thus, we conclude that, by using the prism-coupled configuration, the signal level of STM-LE improves without the loss of spatial resolution attained in tip side emission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095201
JournalJapanese journal of applied physics
Issue number9 PART 1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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