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1.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 682, 2020 Feb 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32015332

RESUMO

The dynamic restructuring of metal nanoparticle surfaces is known to greatly influence their catalytic, electronic transport, and chemical binding functionalities. Here we show for the first time that non-equilibrium atomic-scale lattice defects can be detected in nanoparticles by purely optical means. These fluctuating states determine interface electronic transport for molecular electronics but because such rearrangements are low energy, measuring their rapid dynamics on single nanostructures by X-rays, electron beams, or tunnelling microscopies, is invasive and damaging. We utilise nano-optics at the sub-5nm scale to reveal rapid (on the millisecond timescale) evolution of defect morphologies on facets of gold nanoparticles on a mirror. Besides dynamic structural information, this highlights fundamental questions about defining bulk plasma frequencies for metals probed at the nanoscale.

2.
Nat Nanotechnol ; 15(3): 207-211, 2020 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31959932

RESUMO

Tautomerization, the interconversion between two constitutional molecular isomers, is ubiquitous in nature1, plays a major role in chemistry2 and is perceived as an ideal switch function for emerging molecular-scale devices3. Within free-base porphyrin4, porphycene5 or phthalocyanine6, this process involves the concerted or sequential hopping of the two inner hydrogen atoms between equivalent nitrogen sites of the molecular cavity. Electronic and vibronic changes6 that result from this NH tautomerization, as well as details of the switching mechanism, were extensively studied with optical spectroscopies, even with single-molecule sensitivity7. The influence of atomic-scale variations of the molecular environment and submolecular spatial resolution of the tautomerization could only be investigated using scanning probe microscopes3,8-11, at the expense of detailed information provided by optical spectroscopies. Here, we combine these two approaches, scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and fluorescence spectroscopy12-15, to study the tautomerization within individual free-base phthalocyanine (H2Pc) molecules deposited on a NaCl-covered Ag(111) single-crystal surface. STM-induced fluorescence (STM-F) spectra exhibit duplicate features that we assign to the emission of the two molecular tautomers. We support this interpretation by comparing hyper-resolved fluorescence maps15-18(HRFMs) of the different spectral contributions with simulations that account for the interaction between molecular excitons and picocavity plasmons19. We identify the orientation of the molecular optical dipoles, determine the vibronic fingerprint of the tautomers and probe the influence of minute changes in their atomic-scale environment. Time-correlated fluorescence measurements allow us to monitor the tautomerization events and to associate the proton dynamics to a switching two-level system. Finally, optical spectra acquired with the tip located at a nanometre-scale distance from the molecule show that the tautomerization reaction occurs even when the tunnelling current does not pass through the molecule. Together with other observations, this remote excitation indicates that the excited state of the molecule is involved in the tautomerization reaction path.

3.
ACS Nano ; 14(1): 28-117, 2020 Jan 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31478375

RESUMO

The discovery of the enhancement of Raman scattering by molecules adsorbed on nanostructured metal surfaces is a landmark in the history of spectroscopic and analytical techniques. Significant experimental and theoretical effort has been directed toward understanding the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) effect and demonstrating its potential in various types of ultrasensitive sensing applications in a wide variety of fields. In the 45 years since its discovery, SERS has blossomed into a rich area of research and technology, but additional efforts are still needed before it can be routinely used analytically and in commercial products. In this Review, prominent authors from around the world joined together to summarize the state of the art in understanding and using SERS and to predict what can be expected in the near future in terms of research, applications, and technological development. This Review is dedicated to SERS pioneer and our coauthor, the late Prof. Richard Van Duyne, whom we lost during the preparation of this article.

9.
Nat Mater ; 18(7): 668-678, 2019 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30936482

RESUMO

Ultrathin dielectric gaps between metals can trap plasmonic optical modes with surprisingly low loss and with volumes below 1 nm3. We review the origin and subtle properties of these modes, and show how they can be well accounted for by simple models. Particularly important is the mixing between radiating antennas and confined nanogap modes, which is extremely sensitive to precise nanogeometry, right down to the single-atom level. Coupling nanogap plasmons to electronic and vibronic transitions yields a host of phenomena including single-molecule strong coupling and molecular optomechanics, opening access to atomic-scale chemistry and materials science, as well as quantum metamaterials. Ultimate low-energy devices such as robust bottom-up assembled single-atom switches are thus in prospect.

10.
Faraday Discuss ; 214: 147-157, 2019 05 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30834916

RESUMO

The dynamics of ultrafast electron currents triggered by femtosecond laser pulse irradiation of narrow gaps in a plasmonic dimer is studied using quantum mechanical Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory (TDDFT). The electrons are injected into the gap due to the optical field emission from the surfaces of the metal nanoparticles across the junction. Further evolution of the electron currents in the gap is governed by the locally enhanced electric fields. The combination of TDDFT and classical modelling of the electron trajectories allows us to study the quiver motion of the electrons in the gap region as a function of the Carrier Envelope Phase (CEP) of the incident pulse. In particular, we demonstrate the role of the quiver motion in establishing the CEP-sensitive net electric transport between nanoparticles.

11.
J Phys Chem Lett ; 9(24): 7146-7151, 2018 Dec 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30525662

RESUMO

Reproducible confinement of light on the nanoscale is essential for the ability to observe and control chemical reactions at the single-molecule level. Here we reliably form millions of identical nanocavities and show that the light can be further focused down to the subnanometer scale via the creation of picocavities, single-adatom protrusions with angstrom-level resolution. For the first time, we stabilize and analyze these cavities at room temperatures through high-speed surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy on specifically selected molecular components, collecting and analyzing more than 2 million spectra. Data obtained on these picocavities allows us to deduce structural information on the nanoscale, showing that thiol binding to gold destabilizes the metal surface to optical irradiation. Nitrile moieties are found to stabilize picocavities by 10-fold against their disappearance, typically surviving for >1 s. Such constructs demonstrate the accessibility of single-molecule chemistry under ambient conditions.

12.
Adv Mater ; : e1802702, 2018 Jul 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30062804

RESUMO

The ability to examine the vibrational spectra of liquids with nanometer spatial resolution will greatly expand the potential to study liquids and liquid interfaces. In fact, the fundamental properties of water, including complexities in its phase diagram, electrochemistry, and bonding due to nanoscale confinement are current research topics. For any liquid, direct investigation of ordered liquid structures, interfacial double layers, and adsorbed species at liquid-solid interfaces are of interest. Here, a novel way of characterizing the vibrational properties of liquid water with high spatial resolution using transmission electron microscopy is reported. By encapsulating water between two sheets of boron nitride, the ability to capture vibrational spectra to quantify the structure of the liquid, its interaction with the liquid-cell surfaces, and the ability to identify isotopes including H2 O and D2 O using electron energy-loss spectroscopy is demonstrated. The electron microscope used here, equipped with a high-energy-resolution monochromator, is able to record vibrational spectra of liquids and molecules and is sensitive to surface and bulk morphological properties both at the nano- and micrometer scales. These results represent an important milestone for liquid and isotope-labeled materials characterization with high spatial resolution, combining nanoscale imaging with vibrational spectroscopy.

13.
ACS Nano ; 12(5): 4775-4786, 2018 05 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29641179

RESUMO

Electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) in a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) is becoming an important technique in spatially resolved spectral characterization of optical and vibrational properties of matter at the nanoscale. EELS has played a significant role in understanding localized polaritonic excitations in nanoantennas and also allows for studying molecular excitations in nanoconfined samples. Here we theoretically describe the interaction of a localized electron beam with molecule-covered polaritonic nanoantennas, and propose the concept of surface-enhanced molecular EELS exploiting the electromagnetic coupling between the nanoantenna and the molecular sample. Particularly, we study plasmonic and infrared phononic antennas covered by molecular layers, exhibiting either an excitonic or vibrational response. We demonstrate that EEL spectra of these molecule-antenna coupled systems exhibit Fano-like or strong coupling features, similar to the ones observed in far-field optical and infrared spectroscopy. EELS offers the advantage to acquire spectral information with nanoscale spatial resolution, and importantly, to control the antenna-molecule coupling on demand. Considering ongoing instrumental developments, EELS in STEM shows the potential to become a powerful tool for fundamental studies of molecules that are naturally or intentionally located on nanostructures supporting localized plasmon or phonon polaritons. Surface-enhanced EELS might also enable STEM-EELS applications such as remote- and thus damage-free-sensing of the excitonic and vibrational response of molecules, quantum dots, or 2D materials.

14.
Nano Lett ; 18(4): 2358-2364, 2018 04 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29522686

RESUMO

As the size of a molecular emitter becomes comparable to the dimensions of a nearby optical resonator, the standard approach that considers the emitter to be a point-like dipole breaks down. By adoption of a quantum description of the electronic transitions of organic molecular emitters, coupled to a plasmonic electromagnetic field, we are able to accurately calculate the position-dependent coupling strength between a plasmon and an emitter. The spatial distribution of excitonic and photonic quantum states is found to be a key aspect in determining the dynamics of molecular emission in ultrasmall cavities both in the weak and strong coupling regimes. Moreover, we show that the extreme localization of plasmonic fields leads to the selection rule breaking of molecular excitations.

15.
ACS Nano ; 12(1): 585-595, 2018 01 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29298379

RESUMO

Plasmonic gaps are known to produce nanoscale localization and enhancement of optical fields, providing small effective mode volumes of about a few hundred nm3. Atomistic quantum calculations based on time-dependent density functional theory reveal the effect of subnanometric localization of electromagnetic fields due to the presence of atomic-scale features at the interfaces of plasmonic gaps. Using a classical model, we explain this as a nonresonant lightning rod effect at the atomic scale that produces an extra enhancement over that of the plasmonic background. The near-field distribution of atomic-scale hot spots around atomic features is robust against dynamical screening and spill-out effects and follows the potential landscape determined by the electron density around the atomic sites. A detailed comparison of the field distribution around atomic hot spots from full quantum atomistic calculations and from the local classical approach considering the geometrical profile of the atoms' electronic density validates the use of a classical framework to determine the effective mode volume in these extreme subnanometric optical cavities. This finding is of practical importance for the community of surface-enhanced molecular spectroscopy and quantum nanophotonics, as it provides an adequate description of the local electromagnetic fields around atomic-scale features with use of simplified classical methods.

16.
Light Sci Appl ; 7: 17172, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30839544

RESUMO

Enhanced light-matter interactions are the basis of surface-enhanced infrared absorption (SEIRA) spectroscopy, and conventionally rely on plasmonic materials and their capability to focus light to nanoscale spot sizes. Phonon polariton nanoresonators made of polar crystals could represent an interesting alternative, since they exhibit large quality factors, which go far beyond those of their plasmonic counterparts. The recent emergence of van der Waals crystals enables the fabrication of high-quality nanophotonic resonators based on phonon polaritons, as reported for the prototypical infrared-phononic material hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN). In this work we use, for the first time, phonon-polariton-resonant h-BN ribbons for SEIRA spectroscopy of small amounts of organic molecules in Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Strikingly, the interaction between phonon polaritons and molecular vibrations reaches experimentally the onset of the strong coupling regime, while numerical simulations predict that vibrational strong coupling can be fully achieved. Phonon polariton nanoresonators thus could become a viable platform for sensing, local control of chemical reactivity and infrared quantum cavity optics experiments.

20.
Faraday Discuss ; 205: 31-65, 2017 12 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28933479

RESUMO

The surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) of molecular species in plasmonic cavities can be described as an optomechanical process where plasmons constitute an optical cavity of reduced effective mode volume which effectively couples to the vibrations of the molecules. An optomechanical Hamiltonian can address the full quantum dynamics of the system, including the phonon population build-up, the vibrational pumping regime, and the Stokes-anti-Stokes correlations of the photons emitted. Here we describe in detail two different levels of approximation to the methodological solution of the optomechanical Hamiltonian of a generic SERS configuration, and compare the results of each model in light of recent experiments. Furthermore, a phenomenological semi-classical approach based on a rate equation of the phonon population is demonstrated to be formally equivalent to that obtained from the full quantum optomechanical approach. The evolution of the Raman signal with laser intensity (thermal, vibrational pumping and instability regimes) is accurately addressed when this phenomenological semi-classical approach is properly extended to account for the anti-Stokes process. The formal equivalence between semi-classical and molecular optomechanics descriptions allows us to describe the vibrational pumping regime of SERS through the classical cross sections which characterize a nanosystem, thus setting a roadmap to describing molecular optomechanical effects in a variety of experimental situations.

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