Ab initio calculations of optical properties of silver clusters: cross-over from molecular to nanoscale behavior
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science & Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, MetaForum, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Received: 29 January 2016
Published online: 18 May 2016
Electronic and optical properties of silver clusters were calculated using two different ab initio approaches: (1) based on all-electron full-potential linearized-augmented plane-wave method and (2) local basis function pseudopotential approach. Agreement is found between the two methods for small and intermediate sized clusters for which the former method is limited due to its all-electron formulation. The latter, due to non-periodic boundary conditions, is the more natural approach to simulate small clusters. The effect of cluster size is then explored using the local basis function approach. We find that as the cluster size increases, the electronic structure undergoes a transition from molecular behavior to nanoparticle behavior at a cluster size of 140 atoms (diameter ~1.7 nm). Above this cluster size the step-like electronic structure, evident as several features in the imaginary part of the polarizability of all clusters smaller than Ag147, gives way to a dominant plasmon peak localized at wavelengths 350 nm ≤ λ ≤ 600 nm. It is, thus, at this length-scale that the conduction electrons’ collective oscillations that are responsible for plasmonic resonances begin to dominate the opto-electronic properties of silver nanoclusters.
Key words: Mesoscopic and Nanoscale Systems
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