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Opt Express. 2010 Mar 29;18(7):7528-42. doi: 10.1364/OE.18.007528.

Universal scaling of local plasmons in chains of metal spheres.

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  • 1Department of Physics and Advanced Materials, Institute for Nanoscale Technology, University of Technology, Sydney, Broadway, Australia.


The position, width, extinction, and electric field of localized plasmon modes in closely-coupled linear chains of small spheres are investigated. A dipole-like model is presented that separates the universal geometric factors from the specific metal permittivity. An electrostatic surface integral method is used to deduce universal parameters that are confirmed against results for different metals (bulk experimental Ag, Au, Al, K) calculated using retarded vector spherical harmonics and finite elements. The mode permittivity change decays to an asymptote with the number of particles in the chain, and changes dramatically from 1/f(3) to 1/f(1/2) as the gap fraction (ratio of gap between spheres to their diameter), f, gets smaller. Scattering increases significantly with closer coupling. The mode sharpness, strength and electric field for weakly retarded calculations are consistent with electrostatic predictions once the effect of radiative damping is accounted for.

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