Studying nanoparticles with ultrafast excitation reveals dynamic properties, including the nature and time scale of energy relaxation pathways. Plasmonic nanoparticles are known to exhibit coherent coupling between photons and phonons, arising from impulsive heating that excites coherent lattice vibrations. Single-particle measurements have proven essential for understanding and detecting electron-phonon coupling in these nanoparticles, but questions remain about the fundamental structure-property relationships in complex arrangements.
Ferry and Flannigan will investigate coupling of photons to acoustic oscillations in plasmonic nanoparticles using a combination of ultrafast electron microscopy and optomechanical modeling. Unlike all-optical pump-probe methods of interrogation, ultrafast electron microscopy promises a combination of spatial and temporal resolution. They will use these measurements as a nanoscale probe of dynamics in plasmonic assemblies and to ultimately inform component design of future nano-optomechanical devices.
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