Vibrational coupling in plasmonic molecules [Chemistry]
Plasmon hybridization theory, inspired by molecular orbital theory, has been extremely successful in describing the near-field coupling in clusters of plasmonic nanoparticles, also known as plasmonic molecules. However, the vibrational modes of plasmonic molecules have been virtually unexplored. By designing precisely configured plasmonic molecules of varying complexity and probing them at the individual plasmonic molecule level, intramolecular coupling of acoustic modes, mediated by the underlying substrate, is observed. The strength of this coupling can be manipulated through the configuration of the plasmonic molecules. Surprisingly, classical continuum elastic theory fails to account for the experimental trends, which are well described by a simple coupled oscillator picture that assumes the vibrational coupling is mediated by coherent phonons with low energies. These findings provide a route to the systematic optical control of the gigahertz response of metallic nanostructures, opening the door to new optomechanical device strategies.
Publisher URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11621.short
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