Experiment vs. Modelling: What's the problem?

By William L. Barnes

University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

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Progress in plasmonics has been greatly assisted by developments in experimental techniques and in numerical modelling. In this talk, I will look at some of the difficulties that emerge when comparisons are made between experiment and theory. Through the use of four examples I will illustrate what some of these difficulties are, both from the perspective of experiments and of modeling. Although there are many aspects to consider, two seem to be of particular concern at present; identifying the most appropriate relative permittivity (dielectric function) to describe the optical response of the metals used, and how best to make space discrete when using nu-merical models that rely on this approach. I will conclude by asking how we might best im-prove simulation techniques and to what use they might be put.


William BarnesProfessor William Barnes received his BSc and PhD in Physics from Exeter in 1983 and 1986 respectively. His PhD work was on the optical properties of organic thin films. From 1986 to 1992, he was a research fellow in the Optoelectronics Research Centre at Southampton University, where he worked on fibre lasers and amplifiers. In 1992, he was appointed to a staff position at the University of Exeter. Since joining Exeter, he has built up a research group working on light-matter interactions in general and plasmonics in particular. He holds a Royal Society Merit award.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Much of the material discussed here will soon be published as an article by the Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics.
  • William L. Barnes (2009), "Experiment vs. Modelling: What's the problem?," http://nanohub.org/resources/6856.

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