Plasmon-coupled resonance energy transfer: A real-time electrodynamics approach

Wendu Ding, Liang Yan Hsu, George C. Schatz

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50 Scopus citations


This paper presents a new real-time electrodynamics approach for determining the rate of resonance energy transfer (RET) between two molecules in the presence of plasmonic or other nanostructures (inhomogeneous absorbing and dispersive media). In this approach to plasmon-coupled resonance energy transfer (PC-RET), we develop a classical electrodynamics expression for the energy transfer matrix element which is evaluated using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method to solve Maxwell’s equations for the electric field generated by the molecular donor and evaluated at the position of the molecular acceptor. We demonstrate that this approach yields RET rates in homogeneous media that are in precise agreement with analytical theory based on quantum electrodynamics (QED). In the presence of gold nanoparticles, our theory shows that the long-range decay of the RET rates can be significantly modified by plasmon excitation, with rates increased by as much as a factor of 106 leading to energy transfer rates over hundreds of nm that are comparable to that over tens of nm in the absence of the nanoparticles. These promising results suggest important future applications of the PC-RET in areas involving light harvesting or sensing, where energy transfer processes involving inhomogeneous absorbing and dispersive media are commonplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064109
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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