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ACS Nano. 2011 Feb 22;5(2):905-13. doi: 10.1021/nn102101a. Epub 2011 Jan 5.

Plasmon-enhanced optical trapping of gold nanoaggregates with selected optical properties.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Università di Catania, I-95125 Catania, Italy.


We show how light forces can be used to trap gold nanoaggregates of selected structure and optical properties obtained by laser ablation in liquid. We measure the optical trapping forces on nanoaggregates with an average size range 20-750 nm, revealing how the plasmon-enhanced fields play a crucial role in the trapping of metal clusters featuring different extinction properties. Force constants of the order of 10 pN/nmW are detected, the highest measured on a metal nanostructure. Finally, by extending the transition matrix formalism of light scattering theory to the optical trapping of metal nanoaggregates, we show how the plasmon resonances and the fractal structure arising from aggregation are responsible for the increased forces and wider trapping size range with respect to individual metal nanoparticles.

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