T. Lühder, T. Wieduwilt, H. Schneidewind, and M. A. Schmidt, "Electric current-driven spectral tunability of surface plasmon polaritons in gold coated tapered fibers," AIP Adv. 8, 9 (2018).
Here we introduce the concept of electrically tuning surface plasmon polaritons using current-driven heat dissipation, allowing controlling plasmonic properties via a straightforward-to-access quantity. The key idea is based on an electrical current flowing through the plasmonic layer, changing plasmon dispersion and phase-matching condition via a temperature-imposed modification of the refractive index of one of the dielectric media involved. This scheme was experimentally demonstrated on the example of an electrically connected plasmonic fiber taper that has sensitivities >50000 nm/RIU. By applying a current, dissipative heat generated inside metal film heats the surrounding liquid, reducing its refractive index correspondingly and thus modifying the phase-matching condition to the fundamental taper mode. We observed spectral shifts of the plasmonic resonance up to 300 nm towards shorter wavelength by an electrical power of ≤ 80 mW, clearly showing that our concept is important for applications that demand precise real-time and external control on plasmonic dispersion and resonance wavelengths.