The very low transmission of light through holes smaller than the wavelength has been found to be enhanced for subwavelength apertures in metallic surfaces with periodic corrugations. This effect has been attributed to the interaction of light with surface plasmons. Similar effects obtained subsequently for non-metallic surfaces have been attributed to evanescent waves on the surface produced by the diffracted Bloch waves from different points in the array. We present an exact solution of Maxwell’s equations in the discrete dipole approximation (DDA) for a periodic array of polarizable point dipoles in a layer. Metallic as well as non metallic layers are described. When the wavelength is smaller than the lattice period there is a Bragg’s scattered wave, while for subwalength conditions an evanescent wave on the surface appears. The transmission/reflection coefficients are found to oscillate as a function of frequency, with resonances occurring in a broad range of frequencies depending on the polarizability, at which the evanescent field is enhanced. A detailed study is presented for nanostructured arrays. We find that this model agrees with features observed in experiments through hole arrays supporting the role played by diffraction during light transmission through such arrays without invoking surface plasmons and providing a base to analyze more complex geometries.
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