Wave-particle duality of single surface plasmon polaritons Academic Article uri icon


  • When light interacts with metal surfaces, it excites electrons, which can form propagating excitation waves called surface plasmon polaritons. These collective electronic excitations can produce strong electric fields localized to subwavelength distance scales, which makes surface plasmon polaritons interesting for several applications. Many of these potential uses, and in particular those related to quantum networks, require a deep understanding of the fundamental quantum properties of surface plasmon polaritons. Remarkably, these collective electron states preserve many key quantum mechanical properties of the photons used to excite them, including entanglement and sub-Poissonian statistics. Here, we show that a single-photon source coupled to a silver nanowire excites single surface plasmon polaritons that exhibit both wave and particle properties, similar to those of single photons. Furthermore, the detailed analysis of the spectral interference pattern provides a new method to characterize the dimensions of metallic waveguides with nanometre accuracy. 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 5.048

author list (cited authors)

  • Kolesov, R., Grotz, B., Balasubramanian, G., Stoehr, R. J., Nicolet, A., Hemmer, P. R., Jelezko, F., & Wrachtrup, J.

citation count

  • 344

complete list of authors

  • Kolesov, Roman||Grotz, Bernhard||Balasubramanian, Gopalakrishnan||Stoehr, Rainer J||Nicolet, Aurelien AL||Hemmer, Philip R||Jelezko, Fedor||Wrachtrup, Joerg

publication date

  • July 2009