Light-induced electronic non-equilibrium in plasmonic particles

Mordechai Kornbluth, Abraham Nitzan, Tamar Seideman

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44 Scopus citations


We consider the transient non-equilibrium electronic distribution that is created in a metal nanoparticle upon plasmon excitation. Following light absorption, the created plasmons decohere within a few femtoseconds, producing uncorrelated electron-hole pairs. The corresponding non-thermal electronic distribution evolves in response to the photo-exciting pulse and to subsequent relaxation processes. First, on the femtosecond timescale, the electronic subsystem relaxes to a Fermi-Dirac distribution characterized by an electronic temperature. Next, within picoseconds, thermalization with the underlying lattice phonons leads to a hot particle in internal equilibrium that subsequently equilibrates with the environment. Here we focus on the early stage of this multistep relaxation process, and on the properties of the ensuing non-equilibrium electronic distribution. We consider the form of this distribution as derived from the balance between the optical absorption and the subsequent relaxation processes, and discuss its implication for (a) heating of illuminated plasmonic particles, (b) the possibility to optically induce current in junctions, and (c) the prospect for experimental observation of such light-driven transport phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Article number174707
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - 7 May 2013


FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme1012207, 226628


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