Plasmonic nanoscale temperature shaping on a single titanium nitride nanostructure†
Arbitrary shaping of temperature fields at the nanometre scale is an important goal in nanotechnology; however, this is challenging because of the diffusive nature of heat transfer. In the present work, we numerically demonstrated that spatial shaping of nanoscale temperature fields can be achieved by plasmonic heating of a single titanium nitride (TiN) nanostructure. A key feature of TiN is its low thermal conductivity (kTiN = 29 [W m−1 K−1]) compared with ordinary plasmonic metals such as Au (kAu = 314 [W m−1 K−1]). When the localised surface plasmon resonance of a metal nanostructure is excited, the light intensity is converted to heat power density in the nanostructure via the Joule heating effect. For a gold nanoparticle, non-uniform spatial distributions of the heat power density will disappear because of the high thermal conductivity of Au; the nanoparticle surface will be entirely isothermal. In contrast, the spatial distributions of the heat power density can be clearly transcribed into temperature fields on a TiN nanostructure because the heat dissipation is suppressed. In fact, we revealed that highly localised temperature distributions can be selectively controlled around the TiN nanostructure at a spatial resolution of several tens of nanometres depending on the excitation wavelength. The present results indicate that arbitrary temperature shaping at the nanometre scale can be achieved by designing the heat power density in TiN nanostructures for plasmonic heating, leading to unconventional thermofluidics and thermal chemical biology.