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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)