Comprehensive Study of Plasmonic Materials in the Visible and Near-Infrared: Linear, Refractory, and Nonlinear Optical Properties

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Gelon Albrecht - , Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, University of Stuttgart (Author)
  • Monika Ubl - , University of Stuttgart (Author)
  • Stefan Kaiser - , Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, University of Stuttgart (Author)
  • Harald Giessen - , University of Stuttgart (Author)
  • Mario Hentschel - , University of Stuttgart (Author)


Plasmonic nanostructures are used today for a variety of applications. Choosing the best suited plasmonic material for a specific application depends on several criteria, such as chemical and thermal stability, bulk plasma frequency, nonlinear response, and fabrication constraints. To provide a comprehensive summary, we compare these properties for eight different plasmonic materials, namely, Ag, Al, Au, Cu, Mg, Ni, Pd, and Pt. All these materials can be fabricated with electron beam lithography and subsequent evaporation of the desired material. First, we heated rod-antenna-type nanostructures made from these materials up to 1100 °C in air and investigated their linear optical response. Most structures lose their plasmonic properties at temperatures far below the melting point of the respective material. Gold, silver, and platinum structurally deform, whereas the other materials appear to chemically degrade. Second, to improve the thermal stability, structures with a 4 nm thin Al2O3 capping layer are fabricated. The thermal stability is significantly increased with the capping layer for all materials except for copper and magnesium. Lastly, the laser damage threshold is investigated for silver, aluminum, gold, and copper, which exhibit high nonlinear optical susceptibilities and are therefore particularly interesting for nonlinear optical applications.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058-1067
Number of pages10
JournalACS photonics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0001-9862-2788/work/142255345



  • linear and nonlinear properties, material comparison, Plasmonics, thermal stability, third-harmonic generation