The fundamental optical properties of pure nickel nanostructures are studied by far-field extinction spectroscopy and optical near-field microscopy, providing direct experimental evidence of the existence of particle plasmon resonances predicted by theory. Experimental and calculated near-field maps allow for unambiguous identification of dipolar plasmon modes. By comparing calculated near-field and far-field spectra, dramatic shifts are found between the near-field and far-field plasmon resonances, which are much stronger than in gold nanoantennas. Based on a simple damped harmonic oscillator model to describe plasmonic resonances, it is possible to explain these shifts as due to plasmon damping.
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