The photothermal effect of metal nanoparticles

  • Utilizing the photothermal effect of metal nanoparticles:
    Metal nanoparticles embedded in polymer composites can act as remotely-controlled heating elements and be used to manipulate sample properties by "nanoscopic heating from within". Our recent results demonstrate that irradiation with relatively weak light resonant with the nanoparticle's localized surface plasmon resonance induces dramatic heating in the immediate area of the nanoparticle ("local heating"), while the rest of the material can remain largely unaffected ("global heating").

    Recent research accomplishments include:

    • Using anisotropically-shaped nanoparticles enables further experimental control via the polarization selectivity of the photothermal effect.
    • Monitoring the rate of rotational diffusion of anisotropically-shaped nanoparticles provides a measurement of the local temperature on the nanoscale.
    • Large spatial temperature gradients can be established within photothermally-heated materials under both pulsed and continuous-wave excitation.
    • The photothermal effect can generate thermal processing outcomes which are unachievable by conventional heating methods; for example, drive selective thermal degradation reactions.
    • Shape memory polymers embedded with nanoparticles are readily actuated using light.

    • H. Huang, G. Firestone, D. Fontecha, R. E. Gorga, J. R. Bochinski, and L. I. Clarke, "Nanoparticle-based photothermal heating to drive chemical reactions within a solid: using inhomogeneous polymer degradation to manipulate mechanical properties and segregate carbonaceous by-products," Nanoscale 12, 904 (2020). (journal)

    • G. Firestone, H. Huang, J. R. Bochinski, and L. I. Clarke, "Photothermally-driven thermo-oxidative degradation of low density polyethylene: heterogeneous heating plus a complex reaction leads to homogeneous chemistry," Nanotechnology 30, 475706 (2019). (journal) [paper]

    • G. Firestone, J. R. Bochinski, J. S. Meth, and L. I. Clarke, "Facile Measurement of Surface Heat Loss from Polymer Thin Films via Fluorescence Thermometry," Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics 56, 643 (2018). (journal) [paper]

    • S. Maity, Wei-Chen Wu, J. B. Tracy, L. I. Clarke, and J. R. Bochinski, "Nanoscale Steady-state Temperature Gradients within Polymer Nanocomposites Undergoing Continuous-Wave Photothermal Heating from Gold Nanorods," Nanoscale 9, 11605 (2017). (journal) [paper]

    • J. Dong, G. Firestone, J. R. Bochinski, L. I. Clarke, and R. E. Gorga, "In-situ curing of liquid epoxy via gold-nanoparticle mediated photothermal heating," Nanotechnology 28, 065601 (2017). (journal) [paper]

    • V. Viswanath, S. Maity, J. R. Bochinski, L. I. Clarke, and R. E. Gorga, "Enhanced crystallinity of polymer nanofibers without loss of nanofibrous morphology via heterogeneous photothermal annealing," Macromolecules 49, 9484 (2016). (journal) [paper]

    • S. Maity, Wei-Chen Wu, C. Xu, J. B. Tracy, K. Gundogdu, J. R. Bochinski, and L. I. Clarke, "Spatial Temperature Mapping within Polymer Nanocomposites Undergoing Ultrafast Photothermal Heating via Gold Nanorods," Nanoscale 6, 15236 (2014). (journal) [paper]

    • D. B. Abbott, S. Maity, M. T. Burkey, R. E. Gorga, J. R. Bochinski, and L. I. Clarke, "Blending with Non-Responsive Polymers to Incorporate Nanoparticles into Shape Memory Materials and Enable Photothermal Heating: The Effects of Heterogeneous Temperature Distribution," Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics 215, 2345 (2014). (journal) [paper]

    • V. Viswanath, S. Maity, J. R. Bochinski, L. I. Clarke, and R. E. Gorga, "Thermal annealing of polymer nanocomposites via photothermal heating: effects on crystallinity and spherulite morphology," Macromolecules 46, 8596 (2013). (journal) [paper]

    • S. Maity, K. A. Kozek, Wei-Chen Wu, J. B. Tracy, J. R. Bochinski, and L. I. Clarke, "Anisotropic Thermal Processing of Polymer Nanocomposites via the Photothermal Effect of Gold Nanorods," Particle & Particle Systems Characterization 30, 193 (2013). (journal) [paper]

    • S. Maity, J. R. Bochinski, and L. I. Clarke, "Metal nanoparticles acting as light-activated heating elements within composite materials," Advanced Functional Material 22, 5259 (2012). (journal) [paper]

    • S. Maity, L. N. Downen, J. R. Bochinski, and L. I. Clarke, "Embedded metal nanoparticles as localized heat sources: an alternative processing approach for complex polymeric materials," Polymer 52, 1674 (2011). (journal) [paper]

    Click for some news stories about our early results:

    Above: Kristen Hale prepares to electrospin.