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Nano Lett. 2008 Feb;8(2):631-6. doi: 10.1021/nl073042v. Epub 2008 Jan 12.

Mapping the plasmon resonances of metallic nanoantennas.

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  • 1National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8423, USA.


We study the light scattering and surface plasmon resonances of Au nanorods that are commonly used as optical nanoantennas in analogy to dipole radio antennas for chemical and biodetection field-enhanced spectroscopies and scanned-probe microscopies. With the use of the boundary element method, we calculate the nanorod near-field and far-field response to show how the nanorod shape and dimensions determine its optical response. A full mapping of the size (length and radius) dependence for Au nanorods is obtained. The dipolar plasmon resonance wavelength lambda shows a nearly linear dependence on total rod length L out to the largest lengths that we study. However, L is always substantially less than lambda/2, indicating the difference between optical nanoantennas and long-wavelength traditional lambda/2 antennas. Although it is often assumed that the plasmon wavelength scales with the nanorod aspect ratio, we find that this scaling does not apply except in the extreme limit of very small, spherical nanoparticles. The plasmon response depends critically on both the rod length and radius. Large (500 nm) differences in resonance wavelength are found for structures with different sizes but with the same aspect ratio. In addition, the plasmon resonance deduced from the near-field enhancement can be significantly red-shifted due to retardation from the resonance in far-field scattering. Large differences in near-field and far-field response, together with the breakdown of the simple scaling law must be accounted for in the choice and design of metallic lambda/2 nanoantennas. We provide a general, practical map of the resonances for use in locating the desired response for gold nanoantennas.

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