Geometrical Mie theory for resonances in nanoparticles of any shape

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We give a geometrical theory of resonances in Maxwell’s equations that generalizes the Mie formulae for spheres to all scattering channels of any dielectric or metallic particle without sharp edges. We show that the electromagnetic response of a particle is given by a set of modes of internal and scattered fields that are coupled pairwise on the surface of the particle and reveal that resonances in nanoparticles and excess noise in macroscopic cavities have the same origin. We give examples of two types of optical resonances: those in which a single pair of internal and scattered modes become strongly aligned in the sense defined in this paper, and those resulting from constructive interference of many pairs of weakly aligned modes, an effect relevant for sensing. This approach calculates resonances for every significant mode of particles, demonstrating that modes can be either bright or dark depending on the incident field. Using this extra mode information we then outline how excitation can be optimized. Finally, we apply this theory to gold particles with shapes often used in experiments, demonstrating effects including a Fano-like resonance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21432-21444
Number of pages13
JournalOptics Express
Issue number22
Early online date17 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2011


  • metals
  • scattering
  • nanomaterials
  • scattering theory


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