Surface plasmon based photonic devices are promising candidates for highly integrated optics. An important effort in the
development of these devices is dedicated to the design of systems allowing the two dimensional control of surface
plasmon (SPP) propagation. Recently, it has been shown that Bragg mirrors consisting of gratings of metallic lines or
indentations on a metallic surface are very efficient tools to perform this task. Alternatively, using structured dielectric
layers on top of the metallic layer to build SPP optical elements based on the effective refractive index contrast has been
lately demonstrated. This kind of elements relies on the same principles as conventional optical elements. Here we
analyze the ability of gratings of dielectric ridges deposited on a metallic layer to act as dielectric SPP Bragg mirrors.
The dispersion relation of these systems shows the presence of a gap whose position can be approximately predicted by
the same relation as for standard optical Bragg mirrors. The properties of these dielectric based SPP Bragg mirrors have
been examined as a function of several structural grating parameters. The obtained results have been experimentally
confirmed by means of Fourier plane leakage radiation microscopy.
Inspecting and tuning electric fields on the nanometer scale offers a great potential in overcoming limitations inherent in assembling nanostructures. Both optical and electronic devices may be improved in performance provided that a quantitative knowledge on the strength and orientation of local (stray) fields is gained. Here we present nanoscale investigations of functional surfaces probing the surface potential and electronic properties of ferroelectric and ultra thin organic films. We developed methodologies that are able to non-invasively track the electric field both above and below interfaces, thus providing insight also into the sample. Hence, interface dipole formation and interface charging directly shows up in potential changes revealing the donor/acceptor characteristics of molecules, as well as the surface charge screening in ferroelectrics. Such inspections are possible using conventional scanning force microscopy operated in sophisticated modes measuring the electrostatic force or the inverse piezoelectric effect. Finally, electric fields are also probed in the optical regime using near-field optical methods. Examples are shown where the strength and frequency of surace plasmon resonances become tunable due to simple nanostructuring of metallic thin films.