Optical performance and metallic absorption in nanoplasmonic systems

Optical Society of America
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Optics Express, 2009, 17 (5), pp. 3835 - 3847
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Optical metrics relating to metallic absorption in representative plasmonic systems are surveyed, with a view to developing heuristics for optimizing performance over a range of applications. We use the real part of the permittivity as the independent variable; consider strengths of particle resonances, resolving power of planar lenses, and guiding lengths of planar waveguides; and compare nearly-free-electron metals including Al, Cu, Ag, Au, Li, Na, and K. Whilst the imaginary part of metal permittivity has a strong damping effect, field distribution is equally important and thus factors including geometry, real permittivity and frequency must be considered when selecting a metal. Al performs well at low permittivities (e.g. sphere resonances, superlenses) whereas Au & Ag only perform well at very negative permittivities (shell and rod resonances, LRSPP). The alkali metals perform well overall but present engineering challenges.
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