Cathodoluminescence makes use of the beam raster capabilities of a scanning electron microscope to excite electrons in a sample and collects the luminescent light to produce images or obtain spectra that can reveal useful information about the sample. This technique has been shown to be particularly interesting for studying the plasmonic oscillations of metallic nanostructures. A recently developed fabrication technique has allowed for the creation of sub-10 nm gaps between metallic nanostructures for use as plasmonically active samples that can be tailored for various potential applications. The high degree of control over the geometries capable of being fabricated via this nanomasking technique allow for unique types of structures that are otherwise difficult to fabricate. In this work, the plasmonic response of metallic structures separated by sub-10 nm gaps is studied via CL imaging. Hyperspectral images can demonstrate the effectiveness with which various geometries produce specific wavelength resonances. The results can be helpful in determining which structures are optimal for specific applications based on these resonances. Also, the images can help to guide future fabrication, as the plasmon modes become better understood.
Stephen J. Bauman, Qigeng Yan, Mourad Benamara, and Joseph B. Herzog, "Plasmonic nanogap structures studied via cathodoluminescence imaging," Proc. SPIE 10346, Plasmonics: Design, Materials, Fabrication, Characterization, and Applications XV, 1034607 (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 06, 2017; Published: 25 August 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2274085.
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