We describe and demonstrate a new nanometer-scale broadband light source. It is based on the grating-coupled excitation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) on the shaft of a sharp conical metal taper with a tip radius of few tens of nanometers. Far-field excitation of linear nanoslit gratings results in the resonant generation of SPPs traveling over more than 10 mum to the tip apex and converging to an intense radiative local light spot. Such nanofabricated tips are expected to find various applications in nanospectroscopy, overcoming problems with background illumination in apertureless microscopy.
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