Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 3, 2010
Previous Article Next Article

Detection limits in photothermal microscopy

Author affiliations


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

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information

04 Mar 2010
12 May 2010
First published
18 Jun 2010

Chem. Sci., 2010,1, 343-350
Article type
Edge Article

Detection limits in photothermal microscopy

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

Social activity

Search articles by author