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Issue 3, 2010
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Detection limits in photothermal microscopy

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We show how to push the detection limits in photothermal microscopy towards weaker single absorbers, by a systematic optimization of signal and noise sources. In particular, we (i) maximize the power of the probe laser beam, (ii) select optimal optical and thermal properties for the medium embedding the absorber, and (iii) thermally isolate the absorber from the glass substrate. These different experimental conditions are optimized in turn with single immobilized gold nanoparticles. We demonstrate the detection of a dissipated power of 3 nW with a signal-to-noise ratio of 8, and an integration time of 10 ms. This corresponds to a less than 0.1 K surface temperature rise for a 20 nm-diameter gold nanosphere (0.4 K for 5 nm). As an example of the achieved detection sensitivity, we show simultaneous photothermal and fluorescence detection of individual 20 nm fluorescent beads, each containing about 20 Nile red dye molecules.

Graphical abstract: Detection limits in photothermal microscopy

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The article was received on 04 Mar 2010, accepted on 12 May 2010 and first published on 18 Jun 2010

Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C0SC00210K
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2010,1, 343-350
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    Detection limits in photothermal microscopy

    A. Gaiduk, P. V. Ruijgrok, M. Yorulmaz and M. Orrit, Chem. Sci., 2010, 1, 343
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SC00210K

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