Role of diffusive surface scattering in nonlocal plasmonics

M.K. Svendsen, C. Wolff, A.-P. Jauho, N. A. Mortensen, C. Tserkezis*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The recent generalised nonlocal optical response (GNOR) theory for plasmonics is analysed, and its main input parameter, namely the complex hydrodynamic convection-diffusion constant, is quantified in terms of enhanced Landau damping due to diffusive surface scattering of electrons at the surface of the metal. GNOR has been successful in describing plasmon damping effects, in addition to the frequency shifts originating from induced-charge screening, through a phenomenological electron diffusion term implemented into the traditional hydrodynamic Drude model of nonlocal plasmonics. Nevertheless, its microscopic derivation and justification is still missing. Here we discuss how the inclusion of a diffusion-like term in standard hydrodynamics can serve as an efficient vehicle to describe Landau damping without resorting to computationally demanding quantum-mechanical calculations, and establish a direct link between this term and the Feibelman d parameter for the centroid of charge. Our approach provides a recipe to connect the phenomenological fundamental GNOR parameter to a frequency-dependent microscopic surface-response function. We therefore tackle one of the principal limitations of the model, and further elucidate its range of validity and limitations, thus facilitating its proper application in the framework of nonclassical plasmonics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number395702
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number39
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Nonlocal plasmonics
  • Generalised nonlocal optical response theory
  • Electron diffusion
  • Surface-enhanced Landau damping


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