In this paper we study the optical response of two coupled oriented dipoles with the dimer axis perpendicular to the wave vector of light by analyzing how their scattering matrix can be decomposed. The scattering matrix can be written as a linear combination of three terms with a clear physical meaning: one for each particle and another that is responsible for the coupling and that vanishes for noninteracting or distant particles. We show that the interaction term may generate optical activity for certain scattering directions and that this effect manifests itself mostly in the near field. This simple and intuitive theory based on matrix and vector states of oriented dipoles also describes hybridization processes and Fano resonances. The decomposition method can be also formulated in terms of a hybrid basis that allows us to quantitatively determine the individual contribution of the in-phase and out-of-phase coupling modes to the overall intensity. Our method can help to understand the optical response of more complex nanostructures that can be decomposed into dipole terms. The results are illustrated in gold nanoantenna dimers which exhibit a strong dipolar resonance.
The paper is published in Phys. Rev. B an available at https://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.98.045410