We show that the tilted-grating-assisted excitation of surface plasmon polaritons on gold coated single-mode optical fibers depends strongly on the state of polarization of the core-guided light, even in fibers with cylindrical symmetry. Rotating the linear polarization of the guided light by 90° relative to the grating tilt plane is sufficient to turn the plasmon resonances on and off with more than 17 dB of extinction ratio. By monitoring the amplitude changes of selected individual cladding mode resonances we identify what we believe to be a new refractive index measurement method that is shown to be accurate to better than 5 × 10-5.
The effective indices of the cladding modes of optical fibers depend on the refractive index of the medium surrounding the fiber. We show experimentally and theoretically that while cladding modes with similar effective indices normally have similar refractometric sensitivities, the addition of a 50 nm thick gold sheath enhances the sensitivity of some EH modes by more than one order of magnitude while nearly completely suppressing the sensitivity of neighbouring HE modes (by three orders of magnitude, down to insignificant levels). A differential sensitivity of ∼1000 nm/(refractive index unit) is experimentally reported between adjacent EH and HE grating resonances.