Field enhancement at metallic interfaces due to quantum confinement

Z. Fatih Öztürk*, Sanshui Xiao, Min Yan, Martijn Wubs, Antti Pekka Jauho, N. Asger Mortensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


We point out an apparently overlooked consequence of the boundary conditions obeyed by the electric displacement vector at air-metal interfaces: the continuity of the normal component combined with the quantum mechanical penetration of the electron gas in the air implies the existence of a surface on which the dielectric function vanishes. This, in turn, leads to an enhancement of the normal component of the total electric field. We study this effect for a planar metal surface, with the inhomogeneous electron density accounted for by a Jellium model. We also illustrate the effect for equilateral triangular nanoislands via numerical solutions of the appropriate Maxwell equations, and show that the field enhancement is several orders of magnitude larger than what the conventional theory predicts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number51602
JournalJournal of Nanophotonics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • field enhancement
  • Friedel oscillations
  • nanoplasmonics
  • zero-epsilon phenomena

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