The photothermal effect of metal nanoparticles

  • Utilizing the photothermal effect of metal nanoparticles:
    Metal nanoparticles embedded in polymer composites can act as remotely-controlled heating elements and be used to manipulate sample properties by "nanoscopic heating from within". Our recent results demonstrate that irradiation with relatively weak light resonant with the nanoparticle's surface plasmon resonance induces dramatic heating in the immediate area of the nanoparticle, while the rest of the material remains largely unaffected.

    Recent research accomplishments include:

    • Using anisotropically-shaped nanoparticles enables further experimental control via the polarization selectivity of the photothermal effect.
    • Monitoring the rate of rotational diffusion of anisotropically-shaped nanoparticles provides a measurement of the local temperpature on the nanoscale.
    • The photothermal effect can generate thermal processing outcomes which are unachievable by conventional heating methods.
    • Shape memory polymers embedded with nanoparticles are readily actuated using light.

    Click for some news stories about our earlier results:

    Above: Kristen Hale prepares to electrospin.