skip to main content

Title: Ultrafast, Non‐Equilibrium and Transient Heating and Sintering of Nanocrystals for Nanoscale Metal Printing

The carrier excitation, relaxation, energy transport, and conversion processes during light‐nanocrystal (NC) interactions have been intensively investigated for applications in optoelectronics, photocatalysis, and photovoltaics. However, there are limited studies on the non‐equilibrium heating under relatively high laser excitation that leads to NCs sintering. Here, the authors use femtosecond laser two‐pulse correlation and in‐situ optical transmission probing to investigate the non‐equilibrium heating of NCs and transient sintering dynamics. First, a two‐pulse correlation study reveals that the sintering rate strongly increases when the two heating laser pulses are temporally separated by <10 ps. Second, the sintering rate is found to increase nonlinearly with laser fluence when heating with ≈700 fs laser pulses. By three‐temperature modeling, the NC sintering mechanism mediated by electron induced ligand transformation is suggested. The ultrafast and non‐equilibrium process facilitates sintering in dry (spin‐coated) and wet (solvent suspended) environments. The nonlinear dependence of sintering rate on laser fluence is exploited to print sub‐diffraction‐limited features in NC suspension. The smallest feature printed is ≈200 nm, which is ≈¼ of the laser wavelength. These findings provide a new perspective toward nanomanufacturing development based on probing and engineering ultrafast transport phenomena in functional NCs.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
2054104 1635256 1846673 2054098
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Plasmonic vesicle consists of multiple gold nanocrystals within a polymer coating or around a phospholipid core. As a multifunctional nanostructure, it has unique advantages of assembling small nanoparticles (<5 nm) for rapid renal clearance, strong plasmonic coupling for ultrasensitive biosensing and imaging, and near‐infrared light absorption for drug release. Thus, understanding the interaction of plasmonic vesicles with light is critically important for a wide range of applications. In this paper, a combined experimental and computational study is presented on the nanocrystal transformation in colloidal plasmonic vesicles induced by the ultrafast picosecond pulsed laser. Experimentally observed merging and transformation of small nanocrystals into larger nanoparticles when treated by laser pulses is first reported. The underlying mechanisms responsible for the experimental observations are investigated with a multiphysics computational approach featuring coupled electromagnetic/molecular dynamics simulation. This study reveals for the first time that combined nanoparticle heating and laser‐enhanced Brownian motion is responsible for the observed nanocrystal merging. Correspondingly, laser fluence, interparticle distance, and presence of water are identified as the most important factors governing the nanocrystal transformation. The guidelines established from this study can be employed to design a host of biomedical and nanomanufacturing applications involving laser interaction with plasmonic nanoparticles.

    more » « less
  2. Ultrashort light pulses can selectively excite charges, spins, and phonons in materials, providing a powerful approach for manipulating their properties. Here we use femtosecond laser pulses to coherently manipulate the electron and phonon distributions, and their couplings, in the charge-density wave (CDW) material 1T-TaSe2. After exciting the material with a femtosecond pulse, fast spatial smearing of the laser-excited electrons launches a coherent lattice breathing mode, which in turn modulates the electron temperature. This finding is in contrast to all previous observations in multiple materials to date, where the electron temperature decreases monotonically via electron–phonon scattering. By tuning the laser fluence, the magnitude of the electron temperature modulation changes from ∼200 K in the case of weak excitation, to ∼1,000 K for strong laser excitation. We also observe a phase change of π in the electron temperature modulation at a critical fluence of 0.7 mJ/cm2, which suggests a switching of the dominant coupling mechanism between the coherent phonon and electrons. Our approach opens up routes for coherently manipulating the interactions and properties of two-dimensional and other quantum materials using light.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Above‐band gap optical excitation of non‐centrosymmetric semiconductors can lead to the spatial shift of the center of electron charge in a process known as shift current. Shift current is investigated in single‐crystal SnS2, a layered semiconductor with the band gap of ≈2.3 eV, by THz emission spectroscopy and first principles density functional theory (DFT). It is observed that normal incidence excitation with above gap (400 nm; 3.1 eV) pulses results in THz emission from 2H SnS2() polytype, where such emission is nominally forbidden by symmetry. It is argued that the underlying symmetry breaking arises due to the presence of stacking faults that are known to be ubiquitous in SnS2single crystals and construct a possible structural model of a stacking fault with symmetry properties consistent with the experimental observations. In addition to shift current, it is observed THz emission by optical rectification excited by below band gap (800 nm; 1.55 eV) pulses but it requires excitation fluence more than two orders of magnitude higher to produce same signal amplitude. These results suggest that ultrafast shift current in which can be excited with visible light in blue–green portion of the spectrum makes SnS2a promising source material for THz photonics.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Selectively exciting target molecules to high vibrational states is inefficient in the liquid phase, which restricts the use of IR pumping to catalyze ground-state chemical reactions. Here, we demonstrate that this inefficiency can sometimes be solved by confining the liquid to an optical cavity under vibrational strong coupling conditions. For a liquid solution of13CO2solute in a12CO2solvent, cavity molecular dynamics simulations show that exciting a polariton (hybrid light-matter state) of the solvent with an intense laser pulse, under suitable resonant conditions, may lead to a very strong (>3 quanta) and ultrafast (<1 ps) excitation of the solute, even though the solvent ends up being barely excited. By contrast, outside a cavity the same input pulse fluence can excite the solute by only half a vibrational quantum and the selectivity of excitation is low. Our finding is robust under different cavity volumes, which may lead to observable cavity enhancement on IR photochemical reactions in Fabry–Pérot cavities.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract We report a method for the phase reconstruction of an ultrashort laser pulse based on the deep learning of the nonlinear spectral changes induce by self-phase modulation. The neural networks were trained on simulated pulses with random initial phases and spectra, with pulse durations between 8.5 and 65 fs. The reconstruction is valid with moderate spectral resolution, and is robust to noise. The method was validated on experimental data produced from an ultrafast laser system, where near real-time phase reconstructions were performed. This method can be used in systems with known linear and nonlinear responses, even when the fluence is not known, making this method ideal for difficult to measure beams such as the high energy, large aperture beams produced in petawatt systems. 
    more » « less