Abstract

Because of the small penetration depth of the electromagnetic field, the deposition of a thin surface layer may lead to large errors in the measurement of the dielectric properties of highly reflective materials (e.g., metals). It is shown that unless experimental conditions are chosen carefully, it is not possible to distinguish unambiguously between the effect of an ultrathin surface layer and that of a change in the dielectric function of the material when probing the latter by surface-plasmon excitation.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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