Surface plasmon modes of nanomesh-on-mirror nanocavities prepared by nanosphere lithography†
Metal–insulator–metal (MIM) structures show great potential for numerous photonic applications due to their ability to confine light energy to volumes with deeply sub-wavelength dimensions. Here, MIM structures comprising hexagonal gold nanohole arrays were prepared by nanosphere lithography. Angle-resolved UV-vis-NIR spectroscopy revealed a series of narrow, dispersive and non-dispersive modes, which were attributed to the excitation of surface plasmon polariton (SPP) modes. Applying finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations and analytical diffraction phase-matching theory all resonances can be ascribed to only two SPP modes traveling at the outer gold surface and in the gap layer sandwiched between two metal films. Metamaterial resonances, as reported in the literature for similar structures, are not needed to fully explain the reflectance spectra. Bragg scattering of the symmetric gap SPP mode results in a gap resonance, which is insensitive to the angle of incidence over a broad angular range. The spectral position of this flat band can be controlled by tuning the grating period of the nanohole array as well as the thickness and the refractive index of the dielectric gap.