Shape- and Orientation-Dependent Scattering of Isolated Gold Nanostructures Using Polarized Dark-Field Microscopy

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Islam, Md Monirul
Hossen, Md Mir
Koschny, Thomas
Hillier, Andrew
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Ames Laboratory
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Physics and Astronomy
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We demonstrate a simple and robust method for measuring the shape- and orientation-dependent optical scattering of various plasmonic nanostructures adsorbed onto a solid surface using polarized dark-field microscopy. By analyzing the dark-field scattering images of gold nanostructures using grazing incidence polarized light with a bench-top microscope, we are able to correlate optical scattering from the individual nanostructures with their shape and orientation. Depending on the size, shape, and orientation of the plasmonic nanostructures, they exhibit characteristic angle- and polarization-dependent scattering signals. Extracting the red, green, and blue channels of the scattering signals from a color-imaging detector as a function of azimuthal angle provides a polar plot of color intensity values that is characteristic of the underlying nanostructure. Examples are presented for various nanostructures, including spherical nanoparticles, nanotriangles, and nanorods. Experimental results are complemented by numerical calculations of the scattering spectra of representative model nanostructures. We demonstrate that the polarization- and orientation-dependent scattering behavior is a consequence of various localized surface plasmon modes existing in the nanostructures and can be used to verify the shape of individual objects as well as quickly identify the orientation of numerous objects on a densely populated substrate. We anticipate that this method will provide a rapid and efficient complement to the typical structural analysis of nanoparticles that is achieved by electron microscopy as well as providing a simple method for generating detailed information of the optical scattering of various types of individual plasmonic nanostructures.

dark-field microscopy, localized surface plasmons, orientation sensing, nanoparticles, nanorods, nanotriangles