Phase resolved near-field imaging of propagating waves in infrared tapered slot antennas

By: Louis A. Florence, Edward C. Kinzel, Robert L. Olmon, James C. Ginn, Markus B. Raschke, Glenn D. Boreman

Infrared Physics & Technology 55, 449 (2012)

Tapered slot antennas (TSAs) consist of a planar non-resonant structure which couples incident radiation to a propagating waveguide mode. They are commonly used at microwave and radio frequencies because they are fundamentally broadband and have small profiles. Because of their planar layout and broadband response they have recently been scaled to infrared frequencies where they have advantages for sensing and energy harvesting. We use scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) to study the mode transformation of two types of TSA operating in the thermal infrared (λ = 10.6 μm) with respect to electric field amplitude and phase. The results agree well with simulation showing both the phase reversal across the tapered slot and the traveling of wave fronts along the tapered slot, yet they also reveal high sensitivity of device performance to inhomogeneities in the geometry or illumination. This study will aid future design and analysis of practical non-resonant antennas operating at optical and infrared frequencies.