Modeling columnar thin films as platforms for surface-plasmonic-polaritonic optical sensing

Tom G. Mackay, Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Via exploitation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs), columnar thin films (CTFs) are attractive potential platforms for optical sensing as their relative permittivity dyadic and porosity can be tailored to order. Nanoscale model parameters of a CTF were determined from its measured relative permittivity dyadic, after inverting the Bruggeman homogenization formalism. These model parameters were then used to determine the relative permittivity dyadic of a fluid-infiltrated CTF. Two boundary-value problems were next solved: the first relating to SPP-wave propagation guided by the planar interface of a semi-infinitely thick metal and a semi-infinitely thick CTF, and the second to the plane-wave response of the planar interface of a finitely thick metallic layer and a CTF in a modified Kretschmann configuration. Numerical studies revealed that SPP waves propagate at a lower phase speed and with a shorter propagation length, if the fluid has a larger refractive index. Furthermore, the angle of incidence required to excite an SPP wave in a modified Kretschmann configuration increases as the refractive index of the fluid increases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalPhotonics and Nanostructures - Fundamentals and Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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