Adiabatic Tip-Plasmon Focusing for Nano-Raman Spectroscopy

By: S. Berweger, J.M. Atkin, R.L. Olmon, and M.B. Raschke

J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 1, 3427 (2010)

True nanoscale optical spectroscopy requires the efficient delivery of light for a spatially nanoconfined excitation. We utilize adiabatic plasmon focusing to concentrate an optical field into the apex of a scanning probe tip of ~10 nm in radius. The conical tips with the ability for two-stage optical mode matching of the surface plasmon polariton (SPP) grating-coupling and the adiabatic propagating SPP conversion into a localized SPP at the tip apex represent a special optical antenna concept for far-field transduction into nanoscale excitation. The resulting high nanofocusing efficiency and the spatial separation of the plasmonic grating- coupling element on the tip shaft from the near-field apex probe region allows for true background-free nanospectroscopy. As an application, we demonstrate tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) of surface molecules with enhanced contrast and its extension into the near-IR with 800 nm excitation.