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In its 88-year story, the mission of our institute has been to carry out excellence research in fundamental and applied physical chemistry, contributing to the scientific training of several generations of researchers at the highest level. Our vision is to be an international reference in multidisciplinary research focused on the resolution of the present challenges of our society in the fields of health, biotechnology, new materials, and environment.



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"Nonlocal effects in plasmonic devices: Exploring the quantum regime with the classical hydrodynamic approach"

June 5th 2013


Nonlocal effects in plasmonic devices: Exploring the quantum regime with the classical hydrodynamic approach 

One of the often neglected properties of metal devices is the nonlocal nature of their optical response. The continuous improvement of nano-fabrication methods and experimental access to small nanoparticles and narrow regions between metal structures has increased the interest in a detailed description of nonlocal optical response. Realistic metal interfaces consist of a rather sharp jellium edge and a smooth distribution of conduction band electrons allowing for a spill-out of electrons into the surrounding medium, which enables complex interactions with the environment.


We distinguish between nonlocal bulk effects, that are subjected to the uniform electron distribution inside the metal structure, and edge effects, which are dominated by the smoothly changing electron distribution around the interface. In systems with narrow dielectric gaps, the formation of tunnel junctions leads to further, classically unexpected observations that alter the optical response of the whole structure.


Although nonlocal effects arise from the quantum nature of the free conduction band electrons and ab initio methods are needed to fully capture all phenomena, semi-classical theories are apt to reproduce the observed effects. We demonstrate that a hydrodynamic description of the electron gas can reasonably well describe the nonlocal effects that arise from collective electron quantum interactions in plasmonic metal surfaces and narrow gaps between metals.


During the recent years, we have investigated nonlocal eects in several plasmonic systems with the hydrodynamic model. In this talk, we present the implications of nonlocality in nanoparticles, nanoshells, particle antennas, rods, metal tips on metal substrates and waveguides and study important optical phenomena such as perfect imaging, waveguiding properties, and in relation to the edge eects we study electron tunnelling in dielectric gaps of metal-insulator-metal waveguides and cylinders. Arbitrary systems are studied with an implementation of this framework into the boundary element method (BEM).