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When aluminum outshines gold
Date:12/2/2013

to tunnel from one layer to another in the nanoparticle. A 50 percent larger gap in aluminum allowed for the same quantum effect. In both cases, quantum tunneling through the gap allowed plasmons to resonate as though the core and shell were a single particle, dramatically enhancing their response.

The calculations should be of great interest to those who use nanoparticles as probes in Raman spectroscopy, where quantum tunneling between particles can dampen electric fields and throw off classical calculations, he said.

Nordlander noted that Kulkarni's algorithm allowed the team to run one of the largest quantum plasmonics calculations ever performed. They used the power of Rice's BlueBioU supercomputer to track a massive number of electrons. "It's easy to keep track of two children, but imagine if you had more than a million," he said.

Lead authors of "Aluminum for Plasmonics" are Rice graduate students Mark Knight and Nicholas King. Co-authors include graduate student Lifei Liu and Henry Everitt, a chief scientist at the U.S. Army's Charles Bowden Research Lab, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and an adjunct professor at Duke University. The research was supported by the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Program, the Army's in-house laboratory-independent research program and the Army Research Office.

Rice alumnus Emil Prodan, an assistant professor of physics at Yeshiva University, New York, is co-author of "Quantum Plasmonics: Optical Properties of a Nanomatryushka."


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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert  

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1. Breakthrough in study of aluminum should yield new technological advances
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