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Optical-Force-Dominated Directional Reshaping of Au Nanodisks in Al-Au Heterodimers

Zhang, C., Tumkur, T., Yang, J., Lou, M., Dong, L., Zhou, L., Nordlander, P., Halas, NJ.
Nano Lett


The optical reshaping of metallic nanostructures typically requires intense laser pulses to first approach or achieve melting, followed by surface-tension-dominated reshaping, transforming the original nanostructures into more spherical morphologies. Here, we report the directional optical reshaping of the Au nanodisk of an Al-Au heterodimer in the illuminated junction of an atomic force microscope (AFM). Both the heightening and the repositioning of the Au nanodisk component are induced, reducing the gap between the two nanodisks. There are three contributors to this process: the photothermal softening of the Au lattice, the optical force applied to the Au nanodisk by the Al nanodisk, and the optical force from the nearby AFM tip. The asymmetric reshaping of the heterodimer is observable structurally, through electron microscopic imaging, and through changes in the heterodimer optical response. This optical-force-directed shape manipulation may have potential applications in nanofabrication, optically induced nanomanufacturing, sensing, and quality control.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b03033