© 2017

Evanescent Waves in Optics

An Introduction to Plasmonics

  • Adopts a fundamental approach, first introducing the features of evanescent waves in general, and then focusing on surface plasmons as a particular case of scientific interest

  • Describes the latest applications including plasmon lasers, plasmons for solar cells, and applications in thermal emission

  • Includes a final chapter on the quantization of evanescent waves, introducing surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) and discussing potential applications in ultra-compact circuitry and quantum information processing


Part of the Springer Series in Optical Sciences book series (SSOS, volume 206)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Mario Bertolotti, Concita Sibilia, Angela Guzman
    Pages 1-33
  3. Mario Bertolotti, Concita Sibilia, Angela Guzman
    Pages 35-67
  4. Mario Bertolotti, Concita Sibilia, Angela Guzman
    Pages 69-110
  5. Mario Bertolotti, Concita Sibilia, Angela Guzman
    Pages 111-126
  6. Mario Bertolotti, Concita Sibilia, Angela Guzman
    Pages 127-168
  7. Mario Bertolotti, Concita Sibilia, Angela Guzman
    Pages 169-208
  8. Mario Bertolotti, Concita Sibilia, Angela Guzman
    Pages 209-255
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 257-259

About this book


This monograph provides an introductory discussion of evanescent waves and plasmons, describes their properties and uses, and shows how they are fundamental when operating with nanoscale optics. Far field optics is not suitable for the design, description, and operation of devices at this nanometre scale. Instead one must work with models based on near-field optics and surface evanescent waves. The new discipline of plasmonics has grown to encompass the generation and application of plasmons both as a travelling excitation in a nanostructure and as a stationary enhancement of the electrical field near metal nanosurfaces.

The book begins with a brief review of the basic concepts of electromagnetism, then introduces evanescent waves through reflection and refraction, and shows how they appear in diffraction problems, before discussing the role that they play in optical waveguides and sensors. The application of evanescent waves in super-resolution devices is briefly presented, before plasmons are introduced.  The surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) are then treated, highlighting their potential applications also in ultra-compact circuitry. The book concludes with a discussion of the quantization of evanescent waves and quantum information processing.

The book is intended for students and researchers who wish to enter the field or to have some insight into the matter. It is not a textbook but simply an introduction to more complete and in-depth discussions. The field of plasmonics has exploded in the last ten years, and most of the material treated in this book is scattered in original or review papers. A short comprehensive treatment is missing; this book is intended to provide just that.


Quantization of evanescent waves evanescent waves in waveguides Scanning Near-field Optical Microscope (SNOM) Surface Plasmon Polaritons (SPPs) plasmons in optical nonlinear materials Surface Plasmon circuitry Plasmon microscopy Plasmon lasers and SPASER Surface Plasmon sensors Surface Plasmon Polaritons and Quantum Information Absorption and emission of evanescent photons Controlled thermal emission using plasma resonances

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.“La Sapienza” SBAIUniversity of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Dept. SBAIUniversità Roma L Sapienza Dept. SBAIRomaItaly
  3. 3.Physics DepartmentUniversidad Nacional de ColombiaBogotá D.CColombia

About the authors

Mario Bertolotti is retired professor of Physics and Optics with the Engineering Faculty of the Roma La Sapienza University, Italy. For decades he has been interested in lasers and their applications, carrying out studies on coherence, propagation of light in the atmosphere, scattering, holography, laser annealing, etc. More recently he has been interested in integrated optics, nonlinear optics, nano-optics, and plasmonics. He is author of more than five hundred papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and  of several books, co-editor of a number of schools and conference proceedings, and editor or editorial board member of several journals.

Concita Sibilia received her doctoral degree from the University of Roma “La Sapienza”. She is currently Head of the Nonlinear Optical Laboratory at the Dipartimento di Energetica of the University of Roma. She is full professor in Physics since 2000. Her main research interests are in the field of optics and nonlinear optics at nanoscales. She has chaired ESF-COST P11 action on “Physics of  Photonics Crystals“. She is author of more than three hundred papers in peer-reviewed journals. She is a member of the Optical Society of America, member of the European Physical Society, Board member of the European Optical Society and the Italian Optical Society.

Angela Guzman is Professor Emerita from the National University of Colombia.  She obtained her Dr. Sc. degree from the Ludwig Maximilian University for research conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Germany, and conducted post-doctoral research at the Optical Sciences Center of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. She holds an Honorary Doctor degree from the Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abobyan. She is author of more than a hundred papers in peer reviewed journals and co-editor of several conference proceedings. In 2007 she was made Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA) for her contributions to quantum and atom optics and for the promotion of optics in developing countries. Her main research areas have been quantum optics, nonlinear optics, and nonlinear effects in waveguides. 

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