Modulation of Cathodoluminescence by Surface Plasmons in Silver Nanowires

Amelia C.Y. Liu, Timothy J. Davis, Toon Coenen, Sangeetha Hari, Lenard M. Voortman, Zhou Xu, Gangcheng Yuan, Patrycja M. Ballard, Alison M. Funston, Joanne Etheridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The waveguide modes in chemically-grown silver nanowires on silicon nitride substrates are observed using spectrally- and spatially-resolved cathodoluminescence (CL) excited by high-energy electrons in a scanning electron microscope. The presence of a long-range, travelling surface plasmon mode modulates the coupling efficiency of the incident electron energy into the nanowires, which is observed as oscillations in the measured CL with the point of excitation by the focused electron beam. The experimental data are modeled using the theory of surface plasmon polariton modes in cylindrical metal waveguides, enabling the complex mode wavenumbers and excitation strength of the long-range surface plasmon mode to be extracted. The experiments yield insight into the energy transfer mechanisms between fast electrons and coherent oscillations in surface charge density in metal nanowires and the relative amplitudes of the radiative processes excited in the wire by the electron.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2207747
Number of pages9
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2023


  • cathodoluminescence
  • nanowires
  • scanning electron microscopy
  • silver
  • surface plasmon polariton

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