Volume 84, Number 1, October 2008
Article Number 17006
Number of page(s) 5
Section Condensed Matter: Electronic Structure, Electrical, Magnetic and Optical Properties
Published online 22 September 2008
EPL, 84 (2008) 17006
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/84/17006

New quantum limits in plasmonic devices

M. Marklund1, G. Brodin1, L. Stenflo1 and C. S. Liu2

1   Department of Physics, Umeå University - SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden, EU
2   Department of Physics, University of Maryland - College Park, MD 20742, USA

received 2 May 2008; accepted in final form 27 August 2008; published October 2008
published online 22 September 2008

Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) have recently been recognized as an important future technique for microelectronics. Such SPPs have been studied using classical theory. However, current state-of-the-art experiments are rapidly approaching nanoscales, and quantum effects can then become important. Here we study the properties of quantum SPPs at the interface between an electron quantum plasma and a dielectric material. It is shown that the effect of quantum broadening of the transition layer is most important. In particular, the damping of SPPs does not vanish even in the absence of collisional dissipation, thus posing a fundamental size limit for plasmonic devices. Consequences and applications of our results are pointed out.

73.20.-r - Electron states at surfaces and interfaces.
73.20.Mf - Collective excitations (including excitons, polarons, plasmons and other charge-density excitations).

© EPLA 2008