We investigated the spectral and spatial characteristics of plasmons induced in chemically synthesized triangular gold nano- and microplates by aperture-type scanning near-field optical microscopy. Near-field transmission images taken at plasmon resonance wavelengths showed two-dimensional oscillating patterns inside the plates. These spatial features were well reproduced by the square moduli of calculated eigen functions confined in the two-dimensional triangular potential well. From the irreducible representations of the eigen functions, it was found that both the out-of-plane modes and in-plane modes were clearly visualized in the near-field images. We compared near-field transmission images of a triangular nanoplate to those of a truncated one with a similar dimension and revealed that the fine details of the geometrical shape of the apex on the plate strongly influence the experimentally observed eigen mode structures. We also performed near-field transmission measurements of micrometer-scale triangular plates and found that wavy patterns were observed along the edges of the plates. The wavy features can be interpreted as the superposition of eigen modes with similar eigen energy. These findings prove that near-field transmission imaging enables one to directly visualize plasmonic eigen modes confined in the particle and provide fruitful information not only for a deeper understanding of plasmons but also for the application of the design and active control of plasmonic optical fields.
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