• Featured in Physics
  • Editors' Suggestion

Diffraction Regimes of Single Holes

J.-M. Yi, A. Cuche, F. de León-Pérez, A. Degiron, E. Laux, E. Devaux, C. Genet, J. Alegret, L. Martín-Moreno, and T. W. Ebbesen
Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 023901 – Published 12 July 2012
Physics logo See Synopsis: A New Window on Nanometer Apertures
PDFHTMLExport Citation


We investigate both experimentally and theoretically the far-field diffraction patterns of single circular apertures as a function of their diameters d and at a given illumination wavelength λ. We observe the transition between the well-known pseudoscalar regime of large holes (dλ) and the less-known vectorial regime of subwavelength ones (dλ). Four different diffraction regimes are identified for different d/λ regions, each one with its polarization dependence. A thorough comparison with a theoretical model, which takes into account both finite hole size and the dielectric properties of the metal, allows us to explain and understand the physical processes leading to this behavior. Our results reveal the subtle interplay between two competing factors, one related to polarization symmetries associated with surface-plasmon excitations and the other originating in the coupling of the field to the waveguide mode of the aperture.

  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Received 2 February 2012


© 2012 American Physical Society


Key Image

A New Window on Nanometer Apertures

Published 12 July 2012

Experiment and theory combine to give a more complete picture of a fundamental problem in diffraction optics.

See more in Physics

Authors & Affiliations

J.-M. Yi1, A. Cuche1, F. de León-Pérez2,3, A. Degiron1, E. Laux1, E. Devaux1, C. Genet1, J. Alegret3, L. Martín-Moreno3, and T. W. Ebbesen1

  • 1ISIS & icFRC, University of Strasbourg and CNRS, 8, allée Gaspard Monge, 67000 Strasbourg, France
  • 2Centro Universitario de la Defensa de Zaragoza, Carretera de Huesca, E-50090 Zaragoza, Spain
  • 3Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Aragón and Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada, CSIC-Universidad de Zaragoza, E-50009 Zaragoza, Spain

Article Text (Subscription Required)

Click to Expand

Supplemental Material (Subscription Required)

Click to Expand

References (Subscription Required)

Click to Expand

Vol. 109, Iss. 2 — 13 July 2012

Reuse & Permissions
Access Options
Heating up of Superconductors
January 27, 2017

This collection marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of high-temperature superconductors. The papers selected highlight some of the advances that have been made to date, both in understanding why these compounds behave in the way they do, and in utilizing them in applications. The papers included in the collection have been made free to read.

APS and CERN Sign Open Access Agreement for SCOAP3

APS and CERN, the host organization of SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics), have signed an agreement to make the high-energy physics (HEP) articles published in three leading APS journals open access beginning January 1, 2018. This agreement acts to support the publishing of open access content for wider benefit of the HEP community.

Authorization Required




Sign up to receive regular email alerts from Physical Review Letters

Log In



Article Lookup

Paste a citation or DOI

Enter a citation