Coupling, lifetimes, and "strong coupling" maps for single molecules at plasmonic interfaces

Monosij Mondal, Maicol A. Ochoa, Maxim Sukharev, Abraham Nitzan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interaction between excited states of a molecule and excited states of a metal nanostructure (e.g., plasmons) leads to hybrid states with modified optical properties. When plasmon resonance is swept through molecular transition frequency, an avoided crossing may be observed, which is often regarded as a signature of strong coupling between plasmons and molecules. Such strong coupling is expected to be realized when 2|«U»|/hΓ > 1, where «U»and Γ are the molecule-plasmon coupling and the spectral width of the optical transition, respectively. Because both «U»and Γ strongly increase with decreasing distance between a molecule and a plasmonic structure, it is not obvious that this condition can be satisfied for any molecule-metal surface distance. In this work, we investigate the behavior of «U»and Γ for several geometries. Surprisingly, we find that if the only contributions to Γ are lifetime broadenings associated with the radiative and nonradiative relaxation of a single molecular vibronic transition, including effects on molecular radiative and nonradiative lifetimes induced by the metal, the criterion 2|«U»|/hΓ > 1 is easily satisfied by many configurations irrespective of the metal-molecule distance. This implies that the Rabi splitting can be observed in such structures if other sources of broadening are suppressed. Additionally, when the molecule-metal surface distance is varied keeping all other molecular and metal parameters constant, this behavior is mitigated due to the spectral shift associated with the same molecule-plasmon interaction, making the observation of Rabi splitting more challenging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154303
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number15
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2022


FundersFunder number
U.S. Department of Energy
Air Force Office of Scientific ResearchFA9550-19-1-0009
Office of Science
Basic Energy Sciences
Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division


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