Optical properties of nanowire dimers with a spatially nonlocal dielectric function

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


We study the optical spectra and electromagnetic field enhancements around cylindrical and triangular Ag nanowire dimers, allowing for a spatially nonlocal dielectric function that partially accounts for quantum mechanical effects. For the triangular structures, we pay particular attention to how these properties depend on the sharpness of the nanowire's tips. We demonstrate that significant differences exist from classical electrodynamics that employs a more common, spatially local dielectric function. These differences are shown to arise from the optical excitation of volume plasmons inside of the structures, analogous to one-particle quantum mechanical states, which lead to complex and striking patterns of material polarization. These results are important for further understanding the optical properties of structures at the nanoscale and have implications for numerous physical processes, such as surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3473-3481
Number of pages9
JournalNano Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 8 2010


  • FDTD
  • field enhancement
  • nanowire
  • nonlocal dielectric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering


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