Quantum plasmonics: optical properties of a nanomatryushka

Nano Lett. 2013;13(12):5873-9. doi: 10.1021/nl402662e. Epub 2013 Nov 11.


Quantum mechanical effects can significantly reduce the plasmon-induced field enhancements around nanoparticles. Here we present a quantum mechanical investigation of the plasmon resonances in a nanomatryushka, which is a concentric core-shell nanoparticle consisting of a solid metallic core encapsulated in a thin metallic shell. We compute the optical response using the time-dependent density functional theory and compare the results with predictions based on the classical electromagnetic theory. We find strong quantum mechanical effects for core-shell spacings below 5 Å, a regime where both the absorption cross section and the local field enhancements differ significantly from the classical predictions. We also show that the workfunction of the metal is a crucial parameter determining the onset and magnitude of quantum effects. For metals with lower workfunctions such as aluminum, the quantum effects are found to be significantly more pronounced than for a noble metal such as gold.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Optics and Photonics*
  • Quantum Theory
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance


  • Gold