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Nat Commun. 2014 Jul 28;5:4568. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5568.

Threading plasmonic nanoparticle strings with light.

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Cavendish Laboratory, NanoPhotonics Centre, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge, JJ Thompson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK.
Donostia International Physics Center DIPC and Centro de Física de Materiales CSIC-UPV/EHU Paseo Manuel de Lardizabal 5, 20018 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain.
Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Charles Babbage Road, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 30FS, UK.
Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK.


Nanomaterials find increasing application in communications, renewable energies, electronics and sensing. Because of its unsurpassed speed and highly tuneable interaction with matter, using light to guide the self-assembly of nanomaterials can open up novel technological frontiers. However, large-scale light-induced assembly remains challenging. Here we demonstrate an efficient route to nano-assembly through plasmon-induced laser threading of gold nanoparticle strings, producing conducting threads 12±2 nm wide. This precision is achieved because the nanoparticles are first chemically assembled into chains with rigidly controlled separations of 0.9 nm primed for re-sculpting. Laser-induced threading occurs on a large scale in water, tracked via a new optical resonance in the near-infrared corresponding to a hybrid chain/rod-like charge transfer plasmon. The nano-thread width depends on the chain mode resonances, the nanoparticle size, the chain length and the peak laser power, enabling nanometre-scale tuning of the optical and conducting properties of such nanomaterials.

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