Near-field digital holography: a tool for plasmon phase imaging†
The knowledge of the phase distribution of the near electromagnetic field has become very important for many applications. However, its experimental observation is still technologically a very demanding task. In this work, we propose a novel method for the measurement of the phase distribution of the near electric field based on the principles of phase-shifting digital holography. In contrast to previous methods the holographic interference occurs already in the near field and the phase distribution can be determined purely from the scanning near-field optical microscopy measurements without the need for additional far-field interferometric methods. This opens a way towards on-chip phase imaging. We demonstrate the capabilities of the proposed method by reconstruction of the phase difference between interfering surface plasmon waves and by imaging the phase of a single surface plasmon wave. We also demonstrate a selectivity of the method towards individual components of the field.