Electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) can be used to probe plasmon excitations in nanostructured materials with atomic-scale spatial resolution. For structures smaller than a few nanometers, quantum effects are expected to be important, limiting the validity of widely used semiclassical response models. Here we present a method to identify and compute spatially resolved plasmon modes from first-principles based on a spectral analysis of the dynamical dielectric function. As an example we calculate the plasmon modes of 0.5 to 4 nm thick Na films and find that they can be classified as (conventional) surface modes, subsurface modes, and a discrete set of bulk modes resembling standing waves across the film. We find clear effects of both quantum confinement and nonlocal response. The quantum plasmon modes provide an intuitive picture of collective excitations of confined electron systems and offer a clear interpretation of spatially resolved EELS spectra.
|Journal||Physical Review B Condensed Matter|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|