Plasmonics of Au nanoparticles in a hot thermodynamic bath†
Electromagnetically-heated metal nanoparticles can be exploited as efficient heat sources at the nanoscale. The assessment of their temperature is, however, often performed indirectly by modelling their temperature-dependent dielectric response. Direct measurements of the optical properties of metallic nanoparticles in equilibrium with a thermodynamic bath provide a calibration of their thermo-optical response, to be exploited for refining current thermoplasmonic models or whenever direct temperature assessments are practically unfeasible. We investigated the plasmonic response of supported Au nanoparticles in a thermodynamic bath from room temperature to 350 °C. A model explicitly including the temperature-dependent dielectric function of the metal and finite-size corrections to the nanoparticles’ permittivity correctly reproduced experimental data for temperatures up to 75 °C. The model accuracy gradually faded for higher temperatures. Introducing a temperature-dependent correction that effectively mimics a surface-scattering-like source of damping in the permittivity of the nanoparticles restored good agreement with the data. A finite-size thermodynamic effect such as surface premelting may be invoked to explain this effect.