We illustrate that the surface plasmon polariton (SPP) excitation through the prism coupling method is fundamentally limited by destructive interference of spatial light components. We propose that the destructive interference can be canceled out by tailoring the relative phase for the different wave-vector components. As a numerical demonstration, we show that through the phase modulation the excited SPP field is concentrated to a hot energy spot, and the SPP field intensity is dramatically enhanced about three-fold in comparison with a conventional Gaussian beam illumination. The proposed phase-shaped beam approach provides a new degree of freedom to fundamentally control the SPP excitation and benefits the development of surface-enhanced applications.
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