Photothermal Heating of Plasmonic Nanoantennas: Influence on Trapped Particle Dynamics and Colloid Distribution
Journal article, 2018

Plasmonic antennas are well-known and extremely powerful platforms for optical spectroscopy, sensing, and manipulation of molecules and nanoparticles. However, resistive antenna losses, resulting in highly localized photothermal heat generation, may significantly compromise their applicability. Here we investigate how the interplay between plasmon-enhanced optical and thermal forces affects the dynamics of nanocolloids diffusing in close proximity to gold bowtie nanoantennas. The study is based on an anti-Stokes thermometry technique that can measure the internal antenna temperature with an accuracy of ∼5 K over an extended temperature range. We argue that Kapitza resistances have a significant impact on the local thermal landscape, causing an interface temperature discontinuity of up to ∼20% of the total photothermal temperature increase of the antenna studied. We then use the bowties as plasmonic optical tweezers and quantify how the antenna temperature influences the motion and distribution of nearby fluorescent colloids. We find that colloidal particle motion within the plasmonic trap is primarily dictated by a competition between enhanced optical forces and enhanced heating, resulting in a surprising insensitivity to the specific resonance properties of the antenna. Furthermore, we find that thermophoretic forces inhibit diffusion of particles toward the antenna and drive the formation of a thermal depletion shell that extends several microns. The study highlights the importance of thermal management at the nanoscale and points to both neglected problems and new opportunities associated with plasmonic photothermal effects in the context of nanoscale manipulation and analysis.

inelastic light scattering


interfacial thermal resistance


plasmonic optical tweezers

nanoscale thermometry


Steven Jones

Chalmers, Physics, Bionanophotonics

Daniel Andrén

Chalmers, Physics, Bionanophotonics

Pawel Karpinski

Chalmers, Physics, Bionanophotonics

Mikael Käll

Chalmers, Physics, Bionanophotonics

ACS Photonics

2330-4022 (eISSN)

Vol. 5 7 2878-2887

Areas of Advance

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Energy Engineering

Other Physics Topics

Condensed Matter Physics



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