Polycrystallinity of Lithographically Fabricated Plasmonic Nanostructures Dominates Their Acoustic Vibrational Damping

Chongyue Yi, Man Nung Su, Pratiksha D. Dongare, Debadi Chakraborty, Yi Yu Cai, David M. Marolf, Rachael N. Kress, Behnaz Ostovar, Lawrence J. Tauzin, Fangfang Wen, Wei Shun Chang, Matthew R. Jones, John E. Sader, Naomi J. Halas, Stephan Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of acoustic vibrations in nanoparticles provides unique and unparalleled insight into their mechanical properties. Electron-beam lithography of nanostructures allows precise manipulation of their acoustic vibration frequencies through control of nanoscale morphology. However, the dissipation of acoustic vibrations in this important class of nanostructures has not yet been examined. Here we report, using single-particle ultrafast transient extinction spectroscopy, the intrinsic damping dynamics in lithographically fabricated plasmonic nanostructures. We find that in stark contrast to chemically synthesized, monocrystalline nanoparticles, acoustic energy dissipation in lithographically fabricated nanostructures is solely dominated by intrinsic damping. A quality factor of Q = 11.3 ± 2.5 is observed for all 147 nanostructures, regardless of size, geometry, frequency, surface adhesion, and mode. This result indicates that the complex Young's modulus of this material is independent of frequency with its imaginary component being approximately 11 times smaller than its real part. Substrate-mediated acoustic vibration damping is strongly suppressed, despite strong binding between the glass substrate and Au nanostructures. We anticipate that these results, characterizing the optomechanical properties of lithographically fabricated metal nanostructures, will help inform their design for applications such as photoacoustic imaging agents, high-frequency resonators, and ultrafast optical switches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3494-3501
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 13 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • electron-beam lithography
  • gold nanoparticles
  • optomechanics
  • single-particle spectroscopy
  • Surface plasmon
  • ultrafast spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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