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Opt Express. 2010 Oct 11;18(21):22556-71. doi: 10.1364/OE.18.022556.

Role of near-field enhancement in plasmonic laser nanoablation using gold nanorods on a silicon substrate.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C2200, Austin, 78712 Texas, USA.


We present experimental results for the plasmonic laser ablation of silicon with nanoscale features as small as 22 x 66 nm using single near-infrared, femtosecond laser pulses incident on gold nanorods. Near the ablation threshold, these features are photo-imprints of gold nanorod particles positioned on the surface of the silicon and have feature sizes similar to the nanorods. The single rod-shaped ablation pattern matches the enhancement patterns of the Poynting vector magnitude on the surface of silicon, implying that the ablation is a result of the plasmonic enhancement of the incident electromagnetic waves in the near-field of the particles. Interestingly, the ablation pattern is different from the two separated holes at the ends of the nanorod, as would be expected from the electric field--|E|(2) enhancement pattern. We measured the plasmonic ablation threshold fluence to be almost two orders of magnitude less than the femtosecond laser ablation threshold of silica, present in the thin native oxide layer on the surface of silicon. This value also agrees with the enhancement of the Poynting vector of a nanorod on silicon as calculated with electromagnetic simulations. We thus conclude that plasmonic ablation with plasmonic nanoparticles depends directly on the polarization and the value of the near-field enhancement of the Poynting vector and not the square of the electric field as previously suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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