Calculating nonlocal optical properties of structures with arbitrary shape

Jeffrey M. McMahon, Stephen K. Gray, George C. Schatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


In a recent Letter, we outlined a computational method to calculate the optical properties of structures with a spatially nonlocal dielectric function. In this paper, we detail the full method and verify it against analytical results for cylindrical nanowires. Then, as examples of our method, we calculate the optical properties of Au nanostructures in one, two, and three dimensions. We first calculate the transmission, reflection, and absorption spectra of thin films. Because of their simplicity, these systems demonstrate clearly the longitudinal (or volume) plasmons characteristic of nonlocal effects, which result in anomalous absorption and plasmon blueshifting. We then study the optical properties of spherical nanoparticles, which also exhibit such nonlocal effects. Finally, we compare the maximum and average electric field enhancements around nanowires of various shapes to local theory predictions. We demonstrate that when nonlocal effects are included, significant decreases in such properties can occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035423
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 16 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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