Quantifying Optical Absorption of Single Plasmonic Nanoparticles and Nanoparticle Dimers Using Microstring Resonators

Varadarajan Padmanabhan Rangacharya, Kaiyu Wu*, Peter Emil Larsen, Lasse Højlund Eklund Thamdrup, Oleksii Ilchenko, En Te Hwu, Tomas Rindzevicius, Anja Boisen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The wide and ever-increasing applications of thermoplasmonics demand the need for sensitive and reliable tools to probe optical absorptions of individual nanoparticles. However, most of the currently available techniques focus only on measuring the surface temperature of nanostructures in a particular medium and are either invasive or suffer from low sensitivity, lengthy calibration, or the inability to probe single structures with nanogaps. Here, we present for the first time the use of micromechanical SiN string resonators for quantifying optical absorption cross sections of individual plasmonic nanostructures. Monomers and dimers of nanospheres, nanostars, shell-isolated nanoparticles, and nanocubes are probed. A reliable data treatment method is developed to obtain the absorption cross sections as a function of responsivity across a string. The presented method exhibits an excellent sensitivity of ∼89 Hz/K. This allows quantification of optical absorption cross sections of individual plasmonic structures even when their plasmon resonance wavelengths are far from the laser excitation wavelength. The experimentally obtained optical absorption cross sections agree well with the simulations. Influencing factors including polarization, surface morphology, and nanogap size are discussed. The developed method and the obtained optical absorption profiles facilitate future development and optimization of thermoplasmonic applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2067–2075
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Micromechanical string resonators
  • Thermoplasmonics
  • Plasmonic heating
  • Nanoparticles
  • Absorption cross sections

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