Nonlocal formalism for nanoplasmonics: Phenomenological and semi-classical considerations

N. Asger Mortensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The plasmon response of metallic nanostructures is anticipated to exhibit nonlocal dynamics of the electron gas when exploring the true nanoscale. We extend the local-response approximation (based on Ohm's law) to account for a general short-range nonlocal response of the homogeneous electron gas. Without specifying further details of the underlying physical mechanism we show how this leads to a Laplacian correction term in the electromagnetic wave equation. Within the hydrodynamic model we demonstrate this explicitly and we identify the characteristic nonlocal range to be ξNL∼vF/ω where vF is the Fermi velocity and ω is the optical angular frequency. For noble metals this gives significant corrections when characteristic device dimensions approach ∼1–10nm, whereas at more macroscopic length scales plasmonic phenomena are well accounted for by the local Drude response.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhotonics and Nanostructures - Fundamentals and Applications
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)303-309
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Nanoplasmonics
  • Nonlocal response
  • Hydrodynamic model

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