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Attosecond nanoplasmonic-field microscope


Nanoplasmonics deals with collective electronic dynamics on the surface of metal nanostructures, which arises as a result of excitations called surface plasmons. This field, which has recently undergone rapid growth, could benefit applications such as computing and information storage on the nanoscale, the ultrasensitive detection and spectroscopy of physical, chemical and biological nanosized objects, and the development of optoelectronic devices. Because of their broad spectral bandwidth, surface plasmons undergo ultrafast dynamics with timescales as short as a few hundred attoseconds. So far, the spatiotemporal dynamics of optical fields localized on the nanoscale has been hidden from direct access in the real space and time domain. Here, we propose an approach that will, for the first time, provide direct, non-invasive access to the nanoplasmonic collective dynamics, with nanometre-scale spatial resolution and temporal resolution on the order of 100 attoseconds. The method, which combines photoelectron emission microscopy and attosecond streaking spectroscopy, offers a valuable way of probing nanolocalized optical fields that will be interesting both from a fundamental point of view and in light of the existing and potential applications of nanoplasmonics.

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Figure 1: Schematic of the system and photoprocesses.
Figure 2: Excitation field and kinetics of the local field at a hot spot.
Figure 3: Topography of a nanosystem and spatiotemporal kinetics of the local field potential as detected by the attosecond plasmonic-field microscope.
Figure 4: Energy shift of electrons emitted from the surface of silver nanoshells as a function of the azimuthal angle θ of the emission point and the phase ϕ of the delay between the driving optical radiation and the probing attosecond XUV pulse.

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The work of M.I.S. is supported by grants from the Chemical Sciences, Biosciences and Geosciences Division of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, US Department of Energy, a grant CHE-0507147 from NSF, and a grant from the US-Israel BSF. M.I.S.'s work at the Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) was supported by a Research Stipend of the Max Planck Society. The work of M.F.K., U.K., and F.K. was partially supported by the German Science Foundation (DFG) through the Cluster of Excellence Munich Center for Advanced Photonics. M.F.K. acknowledges support by an EU reintegration grant and the DFG Emmy–Noether program. MIS acknowledges helpful discussions with S. Manson regarding photoelectron cross-sections and with P. Corkum regarding charging of the surfaces.

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Correspondence to Mark I. Stockman or Ferenc Krausz.

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Stockman, M., Kling, M., Kleineberg, U. et al. Attosecond nanoplasmonic-field microscope. Nature Photon 1, 539–544 (2007).

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