Strong luminescence quantum efficiency enhancement near prolate metal nanoparticles: dipolar versus higher-order modes
We present a theoretical study of the radiative and nonradiative decay rates of an optical emitter in close proximity to a prolate-shaped metal nanoparticle. We use the model developed by Gersten and Nitzan, that we correct for radiative reaction and dynamic depolarization and extend for prolate particle shapes. We show that prolate-shaped metal nanoparticles can lead to much higher quantum efficiency enhancements than corresponding spherical nanoparticles. For properly engineered emitter-nanoparticle geometries, quantum efficiency enhancements from an initial value of 1% (in absence of the nanoparticle) to 70% are feasible. We describe the anisotropy-induced enhancement effects in terms of large field enhancements near the metal tips that cause strong coupling to the (radiative) dipolar modes. For increasing particle anisotropy, a strong spectral separation between radiative dipolar and dark higher-order modes occurs, which leads to higher radiative efficiencies for anisotropic particles. In addition, we demonstrate that for large (> 100 nm) nanoparticles, the influence of Ohmic losses on plasmon-enhanced luminescence is substantially reduced, which implies that, if prolate shaped, even lossy metals such as Al and Cu are suitable materials for optical nano-antennas.