We exploit a plasmon mediated two-step momentum downconversion scheme to convert low-energy tunneling electrons into propagating photons. Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) propagating along an extended gold nanowire are excited on one end by low-energy electron tunneling and are then converted to free-propagating photons at the other end. The separation of excitation and outcoupling proofs that tunneling electrons excite gap plasmons that subsequently couple to propagating plasmons. Our work shows that electron tunneling provides a non-optical, voltage-controlled and low-energy pathway for launching SPPs in nanostructures, such as plasmonic waveguide
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