Fundamental studies of the interaction between femtosecond laser and patterned monolayer plasmonic nanostructures
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This dissertation is focused on the interaction between femtosecond laser and patterned two-dimensional gold nanostructures. The sample was prepared by two different lithographic techniques, the nanosphere lithography and the electron beam lithography. Characterization was carried out with scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and UV-vis absorption spectroscopy. Femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy was used to answer a number of fundamental questions regarding the laser-nanostructure interaction. Under a low density irradiation of a femtosecond laser, we examined the effect of the lattice crystallinity on the electron-phonon relaxation in monolayer periodic array nanoparticles prepared with nanosphere lithography. We found that the electron-phonon relaxation rate was faster in polycrystalline nanoparticles and decreases greatly in single crystalline nanospheres, which is explained by the presence of high density grain boundaries. The ultrafast laser-induced coherent phonon oscillations in patterned gold nanoparticles are also fully characterized. We studied the effect of size, shape, thickness, monitoring wavelength, and materials of the prismatic array nanoparticles on the period of their coherent phonon oscillations. In a gold nanodisk pair system, we found that the fractional change in the vibration frequency increases exponentially with decreasing the ratio of the interparticle separation to the particle diameter, which is explained by the coupling of the induced electric field in one nanodisk by the strong surface plasmon field of its pair partner. Based on the coherent phonon oscillation of gold caps on a polystyrene sphere monolayer array, a new all-optical gigahertz modulation technique is developed. Under a high density irradiation of a femtosecond laser, the melting and ablation processes can be induced in gold nanoparticles. We studied femtosecond laser induced shape and localized surface plasmon resonance band changes of gold prismatic array nanoparticles. We also observed that the femtosecond laser irradiation of the nanoprisms at the surface plasmon resonance absorption maximum can cause them to detach from the substrate and 'fly away'. Atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy measurements revealed that the displaced nanoparticles are thinner and smaller than the undisplaced ones, which supports an atomic ablation mechanism.