The optical absorption spectra of small Silver clusters (n=8–39) embedded in rare gas matrices

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The optical absorption of small mass selected Agn-clusters (n=8–39) embedded in solid Ar, Kr and Xe has been measured. Strong absorption has been found between 3 and 4.5 eV. The absorption spectra show 1 to 3 major peaks depending on the cluster size. The width of these peaks is smaller than in gas phase photodepletion experiments of silver ions, most likely due to the low and well defined temperature of the clusters in the matrix. The results are compared to a simple model based on a Drude metal, taking into account the spillout of the electrons and allowing for a deviation of the cluster from a spherical shape. Absorption cross sections scale with the number of valence electrons.