We propose the idea of a subwavelength-sized light guide represented by a linear chain of spherical metal nanoparticles in which light is transmitted by electrodynamic interparticle coupling. The light-transport properties of this system are investigated by use of model calculations based on generalized Mie theory. Considering Ag particles of 50-nm diameter, we find optimum guiding conditions for an interparticle spacing of 25 nm, and a corresponding 1/<i>e</i> signal-damping length of 900 nm is evaluated. The proposed principle of optical energy transport may be useful for subwavelength transmission lines within integrated optics circuits and for near-field optical microscopy.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
(130.0130) Integrated optics : Integrated optics
(130.2790) Integrated optics : Guided waves
(260.3910) Physical optics : Metal optics
(350.3950) Other areas of optics : Micro-optics
(350.4990) Other areas of optics : Particles
M. Quinten, A. Leitner, J. R. Krenn, and F. R. Aussenegg, "Electromagnetic energy transport via linear chains of silver nanoparticles," Opt. Lett. 23, 1331-1333 (1998)