Bridging quantum and classical plasmonics with a quantum-corrected model
Esteban, Ruben; Borisov, Andrei G.; Nordlander, Peter; Aizpurua, Javier
Electromagnetic coupling between plasmonic resonances in metallic nanoparticles allows for engineering of the optical response and generation of strong localized near-fields. Classical electrodynamics fails to describe this coupling across sub-nanometer gaps, where quantum effects become important owing to non-local screening and the spill-out of electrons. However, full quantum simulations are not presently feasible for realistically sized systems. Here we present a novel approach, the quantum-corrected model (QCM), that incorporates quantum-mechanical effects within a classical electrodynamic framework. The QCM approach models the junction between adjacent nanoparticles by means of a local dielectric response that includes electron tunnelling and tunnelling resistivity at the gap and can be integrated within a classical electrodynamical description of large and complex structures. The QCM predicts optical properties in excellent agreement with fully quantum mechanical calculations for small interacting systems, opening a new venue for addressing quantum effects in realistic plasmonic systems.