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PhotonicsDB: Optical Constants

By Xingjie Ni1, Zhengtong Liu2, Alexander V. Kildishev1

1. Purdue University 2. Institute of High Performance Computing, Singapore

Experimental data is used to interpolate the dielectric function or the index of refraction of bulk materials used in optics and photonics

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Version 1.2.5 - published on 09 Mar 2015

doi:10.4231/D35H7BV58 cite this

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PhotonicsDB: Optical Constants uses the initial experimental data to interpolate the dielectric function or the index of refraction of bulk materials. Interpolations are possible only within a certain range of wavelengths taken from the initial experimental data sets. The tool also gives the approximate data and the approximation coefficients obtained from best-fit Drude-Lorentz models for gold and silver. Depending on the number of Lorentz kernels (from 1 to 5) the Drude-Lorentz models support different accuracy of the best-fit approximation. The imaginary part (and sometimes, the real part) of their dielectric functions can be very different depending on the source of published data. Therefore, in addition to the cubic spline interpolation of the raw experimental data, gold and silver can be interpolated using the corresponding Drude-Lorentz best-fit models. The constants of each model and the initial data set are shown in the reference window of the user interface (UI).

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PhotonicsDB: Optical Constants is built on the experimental data taken from published databases. Custom approximation tools are used for the Drude-Lorentz models of the noble metals.


  • X. Ni, Z. Liu and A. Kildishev ... Developed the core interpolation engine and UI
  • Z. Liu, X. Ni and A. Kildishev ... Provided the Drude-Lorentz approximation data and the overall testing
  • A. Kildishev ... Led the development effort


  • X. Wang and G. Klimeck ... Provided Rappture and support
  • A. Moskalenko ... Performed the initial prototyping


Handbook of Optical Constants of Solids, Edward D. Palik (Ed.), Academic Press (1997). Optical Constants of the Noble Metals, P. B. Johnson and R. W. Christy, Physical Review B Vol.6 n.12 (1972).

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Xingjie Ni; Zhengtong Liu; Alexander V. Kildishev (2015), "PhotonicsDB: Optical Constants," (DOI: 10.4231/D35H7BV58).

    BibTex | EndNote, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.