Low absorption losses of strongly coupled surface plasmons in nanoparticle assemblies

Wei Shun Chang, Britain A. Willingham, Liane S. Slaughter, Bishnu P. Khanal, Leonid Vigderman, Eugene R. Zubarev, Stephan Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coupled surface plasmons in one-dimensional assemblies of metal nanoparticles have attracted significant attention because strong interparticle interactions lead to large electromagnetic field enhancements that can be exploited for localizing and amplifying electromagnetic radiation in nanoscale structures. Ohmic loss (i.e., absorption by the metal), however, limits the performance of any application due to nonradiative surface plasmon relaxation. While absorption losses have been studied theoretically, they have not been quantified experimentally for strongly coupled surface plasmons. Here,we report on the ohmic loss in one-dimensional assemblies of gold nanoparticles with small interparticle separations of only a few nanometers and hence strong plasmon coupling. Both the absorption and scattering cross-sections of coupled surface plasmons were determined and compared to electrodynamic simulations. A lower absorption and higher scattering cross-section for coupled surface plasmons compared to surface plasmons of isolated nanoparticles suggest that coupled surface plasmons suffer smaller ohmic losses and therefore act as better antennas. These experimental results provide important insight for the design of plasmonic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19879-19884
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 13 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dark-field imaging
  • Nanoparticle self-assembly
  • Photothermal heterodyne imaging
  • Single particle spectroscopy
  • Surface plasmon resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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