The optical properties of metal nanoparticles: The influence of size, shape, and dielectric environment

K. Lance Kelly, Eduardo Coronado, Lin Lin Zhao, George C. Schatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7845 Citations (Scopus)


The optical properties of metal nanoparticles have long been of interest in physical chemistry, starting with Faraday's investigations of colloidal gold in the middle 1800s. More recently, new lithographic techniques as well as improvements to classical wet chemistry methods have made it possible to synthesize noble metal nanoparticles with a wide range of sizes, shapes, and dielectric environments. In this feature article, we describe recent progress in the theory of nanoparticle optical properties, particularly methods for solving Maxwell's equations for light scattering from particles of arbitrary shape in a complex environment. Included is a description of the qualitative features of dipole and quadrupole plasmon resonances for spherical particles; a discussion of analytical and numerical methods for calculating extinction and scattering cross-sections, local fields, and other optical properties for nonspherical particles; and a survey of applications to problems of recent interest involving triangular silver particles and related shapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-677
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 23 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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