On-Chip Lock-In Detection for Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Single Particles

Subhasis Adhikari, Niklas Gross, Kelly S. Wilson, Ojasvi Verma, Zhenyang Jia, Christy F. Landes, Sean T. Roberts, Stephan Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Time-resolved spectroscopy of plasmonic nanoparticles is a vital technique for probing their ultrafast electron dynamics and subsequent acoustic and photothermal properties. Traditionally, these experiments are performed with spectrally broad probe beams on the ensemble level to achieve high signal amplitudes. However, the relaxation dynamics of plasmonic nanoparticles is highly dependent on their size, shape, and crystallinity. As such, the inherent heterogeneity of most nanoparticle samples can complicate efforts to build microscopic models for these dynamics solely on the basis of ensemble measurements. Although approaches for collecting time-resolved microscopy signals from individual nanoparticles at selected probe wavelengths have been demonstrated, acquiring time-resolved spectra from single objects remains challenging. Here, we demonstrate an alternate method that efficiently yields the time-resolved spectra of a single gold nanodisk in one measurement. By modulating the frequency-doubled output of a 96 MHz Ti:sapphire oscillator at 8 kHz, we are able to use a lock-in pixel-array camera to detect photoinduced changes in the transmission of a white light continuum probe derived from a photonic crystal fiber to produce broadband femtosecond transmission spectra of a single gold nanodisk. We also compare the performance of the lock-in camera for the same single nanoparticle to measurements with a single-element photodiode and find comparable sensitivities. The lock-in camera thus provides a major advantage due to its ability to multiplex spectral detection, which we utilize here to capture both the electronic dynamics and acoustic vibrations of a single gold nanodisk following ultrafast laser excitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8708-8715
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 30 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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