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The quanta of waves produced by collective effects of large numbers of electrons in matter when the electrons are disturbed from equilibrium. Metals provide the best evidence of plasmons, because they have a high density of electrons free to move. The results of plasmon stimulation are seen in the illustration. The graph shows the probability of energy losses by fast electrons transmitted through a thin aluminum foil. The number of detected electrons in a beam is plotted against their energy loss during transit through the foil. Each energy-loss peak corresponds to excitation of one or more plasmons. Within experimental error, the peaks occur at integral multiples of a fundamental loss. Further evidence is the fact that the areas under the peaks (a measure of the energy-loss probability) follow a Poisson distribution.

Number of detected electrons in a beam versus their energy loss during transit through a thin aluminum foilenlarge picture
Number of detected electrons in a beam versus their energy loss during transit through a thin aluminum foil

The name plasmon derives from the physical plasma as a state of matter in which the atoms are ionized. At the lowest densities this means an ionized gas, or classical plasma; but densities are much higher in a metal, or quantum plasma, the atoms of a solid metal being in the form of ions. In both types of physical plasma, the frequency of plasma-wave oscillation is determined by the electronic density. In a quantum plasma the energy of the plasmon is its frequency multiplied by Planck's constant, a basic relationship of quantum mechanics. See Free-electron theory of metals, Quantum mechanics

The plasmon energy for most metals corresponds to that of an ultraviolet photon. However, for silver, gold, the alkali metals, and a few other materials, the plasmon energy is sufficiently low to correspond to that of a visible or near-ultraviolet photon. This means there is a possibility of exciting plasmons by light. If plasmons are confined upon a surface, optical effects can be easily observed. In this case, the quanta are called surface plasmons, and they have the bulk plasmon energy as an upper energy limit.

Surface plasmons were first proposed to explain energy losses by electrons reflected from metal surfaces. Since then, numerous experiments have involved coupling photons to surface plasmons. Potential applications extend to new light sources, solar cells, holography, Raman spectroscopy, and microscopy.

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Physics. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the totality of extranuclear (nonchromosomal) factors of heredity concentrated in the cytoplasm of a cell. Plasmon consists of discrete units known as plasmagenes. The extra-chromosomal gene in plants was first described in 1908 by the German botanist K. Correns. Cytoplasmic inheritance of characters is characterized by absence of regular Mendelian segregation in successive generations and by transmission predominantly through the maternal line. Plasmagenes are localized in self-reproducing organoids of the cell: mitochondria, plastids (including chloroplasts), and, possibly, kinetosomes and centrioles. They may exist in ordinary and mutant form, influencing various characters of the cell. In cases investigated, desoxyribonucleic acids serve as the material carriers of cytoplasmic inheritance.


Jinks, J. Nekhromosomnaia nasledstvennost’. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from English.)
Sager, R. “Geny vne khromosom.” In Molekuly i kletki. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from English.)



the quantum of plasma or solid-state plasma density oscillations accompanied by longitudinal electric field oscillations. The plasmon is a quasiparticle. Its energy ℇ is approximately equal to ℏωL, where Plasmon is the angular plasma (Langmuir) frequency, ℏ is Planck’s constant, η is the number of charged particles per unit volume, and e and m are the charge and mass of the particles. The energy of a plasmon is determined from the characteristic energy losses sustained by electrons in metals: electrons passing through the plate expend energy on the excitation of plasma oscillations, that is, on the “creation” of plasmons. Another method of determining the energy of a plasmon is analysis of the light spectrum emitted by plasmons.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The cytoplasmic genetic system in eukaryotes consisting primarily of mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and chloroplast DNA.
(solid-state physics)
A quantum of a collective longitudinal wave in the electron gas of a solid.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A quantum of plasma. A plasmon is the gas particle equivalent of a photon, which is a light particle. Surface plasmons, which reside on the surface of materials, are expected to yield terahertz transmission speeds within electronic circuits some day. See photon.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In the 5.25-inch disk market, Plasmon is a fair way behind Hewlett-Packard as number two supplier, although it has the 12-inch market to itself, a lucrative niche sector catering for high-spending users such as banks.
BOE: Buffered oxide etchant FAGRR: Fluoride-assisted galvanic replacement reaction GNPs: Gold nanoparticles GNP/Si: GNP-deposited Si LSPR: Localized surface plasmon resonance MacEtch: Metal-assisted chemical etching.
Jiying Peng "Surface plasmon induced polarization filter of the gold -coated photonic crystal fiber with a liquid core".
However, analysts estimated Breakstone's could fetch up to $400 million, Plasmon could be worth nearly $800 million, Ore-Ida could fetch up to $2 billion, and Maxwell House could be worth over $3 billion.
Terstappen, "Analysis of cell surface antigens by Surface plasmon resonance imaging," Biosensors & Bioelectronics, vol.
The optical sensor test was then carried out via surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy by observing the angle shift of the active composite layer in contact with deionized water and cobalt ion solution.
The plasmon can be considered a quasi particle since it arises from the quantization of plasma oscillations, just like phonons are quantization of mechanical vibrations.
used long-range surface plasmon waveguides for capturing only blood group antigen A on RBCs by immobilized Anti-A IgG via no comparative studies with Anti-B [29].
Metallic rings are highly tunable structures which can support multipolar plasmon modes at different frequencies under oblique incidence, retardation effects, or coupling with a disk [21].
More recently, there has been a shift towards working in the sub-micron to nano structure scale (sometimes referred to as sub-wavelength structures), where unique optical phenomenon occur such as surface plasmon resonance.
As the light strikes the sensing area, it excites free electrons, causing them to oscillate and generate a highly confined propagating surface wave, called a surface plasmon polariton.