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Plasmon-Enhanced Optical Trapping of Gold Nanoaggregates with Selected Optical Properties

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posted on 2011-02-22, 00:00 authored by Elena Messina, Emanuele Cavallaro, Adriano Cacciola, Maria Antonia Iatì, Pietro G. Gucciardi, Ferdinando Borghese, Paolo Denti, Rosalba Saija, Giuseppe Compagnini, Moreno Meneghetti, Vincenzo Amendola, Onofrio M. Maragò
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.