Single-cycle surface plasmon polaritons on a bare metal wire excited by relativistic electrons

W.P.E.M. Op't Root, G.J.H. Brussaard, P.W. Smorenburg, O.J. Luiten

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Terahertz (THz) pulses are applied in areas as diverse as materials science, communication and biosensing. Techniques for subwavelength concentration of THz pulses give access to a rapidly growing range of spatial scales and field intensities. Here we experimentally demonstrate a method to generate intense THz pulses on a metal wire, thereby introducing the possibility of wave-guiding and focussing of the full THz pulse energy to subwavelength spotsizes. This enables endoscopic sensing, single-shot subwavelength THz imaging and study of strongly nonlinear THz phenomena. We generate THz surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) by launching electron bunches onto the tip of a bare metal wire. Bunches with 160 pC charge and ≈6 ps duration yield SPPs with 6-10 ps duration and 0.4±0.1 MV m-1 electric field strength on a 1.5 mm diameter aluminium wire. These are the most intense SPPs reported on a wire. The SPPs are shown to propagate around a 90° bend.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13769
Number of pages6
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2016


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