Observation of inhomogeneous plasmonic field distribution in a nanocavity
Abstract: The progress of plasmon-based technologies relies on an understanding of the properties of the enhanced electromagnetic fields generated by the coupling nanostrucutres1,2,3,4,5,6. Plasmon-enhanced applications include advanced spectroscopies7,8,9,10, optomechanics11, optomagnetics12 and biosensing13,14,15,16,17. However, precise determination of plasmon field intensity distribution within a nanogap remains challenging. Here, we demonstrate a molecular ruler made from a set of viologen-based, self-assembly monolayers with which we precisely measures field distribution within a plasmon nanocavity with ~2-Å spatial resolution. We observed an unusually large plasmon field intensity inhomogeneity that we attribute to the formation of a plasmonic comb in the nanocavity. As a consequence, we posit that the generally adopted continuous media approximation for molecular monolayers should be used carefully.