Martin Esmann, Abbas Chimeh, Anke Korte, Jin-Hui Zhong, Sven Stephan, Julia Witt, Gunther Wittstock, Nahid Talebi, Christoph Lienau
February 4, 2020
We describe and demonstrate a novel experimental approach to measure broadband, amplitude- and phase-resolved scattering spectra of single nanoparticles with 10-nm spatial resolution. Nanofocusing of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) propagating along the shaft of a conical gold taper is used to create a spatially isolated, spectrally broad nanoscale light source at its very apex. The interference between these incident SPPs and SPPs that are backpropagating from the apex leads to the formation of an inherently phase-stable interferogram, which we detect in the far field by partially scattering SPPs off a small protrusion on the taper shaft. We show that these interferograms allow the reconstruction of both the amplitude and phase of the local optical near fields around individual nanoparticles optically coupled to the taper apex. We extract local light scattering spectra of particles and quantify line broadenings and spectral shifts induced by tip-sample coupling. Our experimental findings are supported by corresponding finite-difference time-domain and coupled dipole simulations and show that, in the limit of weak tip-sample coupling, the measurements directly probe the projected local density of optical states of the plasmonic system. The combination of a highly stable inline interferometer with the inherent optical background suppression through nanofocusing makes it a promising tool for the locally resolved study of the spectral and temporal optical response of coupled hybrid nanosystems.