Optical properties of intermetallic compounds from first principles calculations: A search for the ideal plasmonic material

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Physics Condensed Matter, 2009, 21 (14)
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First principles calculations have been used to predict the optical properties for a range of intermetallic compounds for which little or no experimental optical data are currently available. Density functional theory combined with the random phase approximation is used to calculate the dielectric functions for these compounds. The aim of this work is to investigate how the band edge and plasma frequency vary with composition in order to identify materials with promising plasmonic properties. Towards this end the intermetallic compounds chosen are composed of elements which on their own have reasonable optical properties for plasmonic applications. The position of the band edge relative to the plasma frequency is most favourable in the simple binary compounds formed from the alkali plus noble metals NaAu, KAu and KAg. In particular, for KAu the band edge and plasma frequency occur at almost the same frequency, and hence the imaginary part of the dielectric function is practically zero for frequencies below the plasma frequency. In addition, the plasma frequency in this compound is at relatively low frequency, promising a material with strong plasmon response in the infrared. © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.
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