Broadband Terahertz Sensing on Spoof Plasmon Surfaces
Binghao Ng , Stephen M. Hanham , Jianfeng Wu , Antonio I. Fernández-Domínguez , Norbert Klein , Yun Fook Liew , Mark B.H. Breese , Minghui Hong , and Stefan A. Maier Abstract
In this paper, we show that broadband spectral data can be experimentally extracted from corrugated metallic surfaces consisting of a linear array of subwavelength grooves supporting tightly confined spoof plasmons. Using a combination of the scattering edge coupling method and short-time Fourier transform, we are able to discern the group velocity characteristics of a spoof plasmon pulse which in turn allows for the extraction of broadband dispersion data from 0.4 THz to 1.44 THz in a single measurement. Refractive index sensing of various fluids is demonstrated at microlitre volume quantities by monitoring changes in not only the dispersion relation but also the frequency dependent attenuation of the spoof plasmons. This gives information about both the real and imaginary part of the refractive index of an analyte, indicating the potential for spoof plasmon surfaces to fully characterise substances in the terahertz regime. Lastly, we show that the strong electromagnetic field confinement near the effective spoof plasmon frequency allows for surface enhanced absorption spectroscopy, demonstrated here with α-lactose monohydrate powder. This allows us to take a more spectroscopic approach to THz sensing whereby substances can be uniquely identified by their spectral fingerprints. The enhanced light-matter interactions that occur in the vicinity of the spoof plasmon surface allows for a more efficient use of the limited power of current terahertz sources. Together with the ability to integrate spoof plasmon surfaces with microfluidics and to freely design its electromagnetic properties, we believe that these surfaces can be a very versatile platform on which chip-scale terahertz sensing can be performed.