Effective Optical Properties of Plasmonic Nanocomposites

Christoph Etrich, Stephan Fahr, Mehdi Keshavarz Hedayati, Franz Faupel, Mady Elbahri, Carsten Rockstuhl

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Plasmonic nanocomposites find many applications, such as nanometric coatings in emerging fields, such as optotronics, photovoltaics or integrated optics. To make use of their ability to affect light propagation in an unprecedented manner, plasmonic nanocomposites should consist of densely packed metallic nanoparticles. This causes a major challenge for their theoretical description, since the reliable assignment of effective optical properties with established effective medium theories is no longer possible. Established theories, e. g., the Maxwell-Garnett formalism, are only applicable for strongly diluted nanocomposites. This effective description, however, is a prerequisite to consider plasmonic nanocomposites in the design of optical devices. Here, we mitigate this problem and use full wave optical simulations to assign effective properties to plasmonic nanocomposites with filling fractions close to the percolation threshold. We show that these effective properties can be used to properly predict the optical action of functional devices that contain nanocomposites in their design. With this contribution we pave the way to consider plasmonic nanocomposites comparably to ordinary materials in the design of optical elements.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)727-741
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanocomposite
  • Plasmonics
  • Metamaterials
  • Homogenization


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