Broadband Terahertz Sensing on Spoof Plasmon Surfaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Binghao Ng
  • Jianfeng Wu
  • Antonio I. Fernández-Domínguez
  • Norbert Klein
  • Yun Fook Liew
  • Mark B.H. Breese
  • Minghui Hong
  • Stefan A. Maier

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Imperial College London
  • National University of Singapore
  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • National Metrology Centre


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 to 1.44 THz in a single measurement. Refractive index sensing of various fluids is demonstrated at microliter 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 characterize 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 allow 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.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1067
Number of pages9
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number10
Early online date2 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2014


  • metamaterials, plasmonics, sensors, subwavelength materials, THz