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using gold nanoparticles as nanosources of heat

Principal investigator : Guillaume Baffou

keywords : nanoplasmonics, gold nanoparticles, thermal effects, optical and thermal imaging

Our research activities stand at the frontiers between nanooptics and thermodynamics. We investigate thermal-induced processes at the nano and micro scales using photothermally excited gold nanoparticles [13].

I - Experimentally

Our major contribution to this field of research (named thermoplasmonics) was to develop a unique temperature microscopy technique capable of mapping the temperature and the heat source density throughout plasmonic structures under illumination [8]. It also quantitatively measures the absorption cross section of nanoparticles, no matter their size, nature and morphology [12], and enables a three dimensional temperature mapping [14]. This label-free optical technique enables quantitative measurements with a diffraction-limited spatial resolution ( 500 nm) and at around one image per second (1 Hz).

Just because any area of science features thermal-induced processes (thermodynamics, chemical synthesis, fluid dynamics, phase transitions, cell biology, etc), the possible systems of interest that our technique can address is countless, with only one limitation : the imagination.

So far, thanks to this microscopy technique, we have been able to address problems in physics, chemistry and cell biology.

1- physics
  • We investigated the physics of heat generation of complex plasmonic systems, such as metal nanowires (collaboration with David McCloskey, CRANN, Dublin) [21] and plasmonic dimers [4].
  • We have developed a procedure to create any temperature profile at the microscale (uniform, linear gradient, parabolic, asymmetric, etc). The method is based on the reverse calculation of specific and non-uniform gold nanoparticles distributions that can be designed by e-beam lithography [18].
  • We detailed the physics of bubble dynamics created under cw illumination around single plasmonic nanoparticles. We explained the unexpected long life time of these bubbles, and we explained why bubble formation in plasmonics occurs around 200°C (not at 100°C), even under cw illumination [16].
  • We published a tutorial on the thermoplasmonics of nanoholes [41].
2- chemistry
  • Following the possibility to achieve liquid water at 200°C under ambient conditions, we developed a new approach of hydrothermal chemistry that does not require the use of a pressure chamber (autoclave) [26].
  • We published a review article on Nanoplasmonics for Chemistry [10].
3- Cell biology
  • In collaboration with Romain Quidant (ICFO, Barcelona), we developed a technique to map the temperature in living cells in culture. This technique is based on fluorescence polarization anisotropy measurements and on the use of Green Fluorescent Proteins [10].
  • Via a collaboration with Julien Polleux (Martinsried, Germany), we investigated the living cell migration controlled by plasmonic heating [11].
  • We published a critique of the state of the art concerning temperature mapping in living cells, questioning the validity of recent experiments [20,22].
  • We study problems in thermal biology at the level of single cells generated by heating of gold nanoparticles, such as the heat-shock response of single living cells [30].

II - Theoretically

  • We studied the heat generation of complex plasmonic systems [2,3].
  • We studied the physics of nanoparticle heating under pulsed illumination [6] and under modulated (time-harmonic) illumination [19].
  • We developed new theoretical frameworks based on a Green’s function formalism (DDA) to compute the temperature distribution throughout plasmonic systems [5], and to compute the temperature evolution under femtosecond pulsed illumination [6].
  • We studied the fluid convection generated around single gold nanoparticles on a substrate [7].
  • We studied in detail the variations of the fluence threshold required for bubble formation around gold nanoparticles under nanosecond to femtosecond pulsed illumination [25].
  • We detailed the physics of thermal collective effects in thermoplasmonics [15].
  • We introduced two new figures of merit in plasmonics, named the Faraday and Joule numbers, aimed to quantify the ability of materials to achieve efficient near-field enhancement and heat generation in nanoplasmonics[24].
  • We tested the interest of new materials in plasmonics, namely TiN and ZrN, as efficient near-field enhancers and nanosources of heat [26].
  • We introduced the concept of isosbestic nanoparticles in plasmonics, which characterizes nanoparticles whose photothermal properties are independent on the polarization, while the near-field enhancement is [27].
Experimental techniques Numerical techniques
Confocal microscopy
Fluorescence anisotropy imaging
Quantitative phase imaging
Temperature microscopy
Single nanoparticle spectroscopy
Scanning electronic microscopy
Focused ion beam lithography
Living cell culture
Discrete dipole approximation (DDA)
Green dyadic tensor techniques (GDT)
Boundary element method (BEM)


[42] Life at high temperature observed in vitro upon laser heating of gold nanoparticles
C. Molinaro, M. Bénéfice, A. Gorlas, V. Da Cunha, H. M. L. Robert, R. Catchpole, L. Gallais, P. Forterre, G. Baffou*
Nature Communications 13, 5342 (2022)
[42] Optically-assisted thermophoretic reversible assembly of colloidal particles and E. coli using graphene oxide microstructures
J. Puthenveetil Joby, S. Das, P. Pinapati, B. Rogez, G. Baffou, D. K. Tiwari, S. Cherukulappurath
Scientific Reports 12, 3657 (2022)
[41] Thermoplasmonics of metal layers and nanoholes
B. Rogez, Z. Marmri, F. Thibaudau, G. Baffou
APL Photonics 6, 101101 (2021)
[40] Anti-Stokes Thermometry in Nanoplasmonics
G. Baffou
ACS Nano 15, 5785-5792 (2021)
[39] Microscale Thermophoresis in Liquids Induced by Plasmonic Heating and Characterized by Phase and Fluorescence Microscopies
S. Shakib, B. Rogez, S. Khadir, J. Polleux, A. Würger, G. Baffou
J Phys Chem C 125, 21533-21542 (2021)
[38] Applications and challenges of thermoplasmonics
G. Baffou, F. Cichos, R. Quidant
Nature Materials 19, 946-958 (2020)
[37] Simple experimental procedures to distinguish photothermal from hot-carrier processes in plasmonics
G. Baffou,* I. Bordacchini, A. Baldi, R. Quidant
Light : Science and Applications 9, 2047-7538 (2020)
[36] Optimal architecture for diamond-based wide-field thermal imaging
R. Tanos, W. Akhtar, S. Monneret, F. Favaro de Oliveira, G. Seniutinas, M. Munsch, P. Maletinsky, L. le Gratiet, I. Sagnes, A. Dréau, C. Gergely, V. Jacques, G. Baffou, I. Robert-Philip
AIP Advances 10, 025027 (2020)
[35] Simple experimental procedures to discern photothermal processes in plasmon-driven chemistry
G. Baffou,* I. Bordacchini, A. Baldi, R. Quidant
arXiv 2001.08402 (2020)
[34] Adhesion Layer Influence on Controlling the Local Temperature in Plasmonic Gold Nanoholes
Q. Jiang, B. Rogez, J.-B. Claude, A. Moreau, J. Lumeau, G. Baffou, J. Wenger
Nanoscale 12, 2524-2531 (2020)
[33] Temperature Measurement in Plasmonic Nanoapertures used for Optical Trapping
Q. Jiang, B. Rogez, J.-B. Claude, G. Baffou, J. Wenger
ACS Photonics 6, 1763-1773 (2019)
[32] Microscale Temperature Shaping Using Spatial Light Modulation on Gold Nanoparticles
L. Durdevic, H. M. L. Robert, B. Wattellier, S. Monneret, G. Baffou
Scientific Report 9, 4644 (2019)
[31] Photothermal control of heat-shock protein expression at the single cell level
H. M. L. Robert, J. Savatier, S. Vial, J. Verghese, B. Wattelier, H. Rigneault, S. Monneret, J. Polleux, and G. Baffou
Small 14, 1801910 (2018)
[30] GOLD NANOPARTICLES as nanosources of heat
Guillaume Baffou
Photoniques 2, 42-47 (2018)
[29] Thermoplasmonics
Guillaume Baffou
Cambridge University Press (2017)
[28] Isosbestic Thermoplasmonic Nanostructures
K. Metwally, S. Mensah, G. Baffou
ACS Photonics 4, 1544–1551 (2017)
[27] Plasmonic efficiencies of nanoparticles made of metal nitrides (TiN, ZrN) compared with gold
A. Lalisse, G. Tessier, J. Plain, G. Baffou
Scientific Reports 6, 38647 (2016)
[26] Light-Assisted Solvothermal Chemistry Using Plasmonic Nanoparticles
H. Robert, F. Kundrat, E. Bermudez-Urena, H. Rigneault, S. Monneret, R. Quidant, J. Polleux, G. Baffou
ACS Omega 1, 2–8 (2016)
[25] Fluence Threshold for Photothermal Bubble Generation Using Plasmonic Nanoparticles
K. Metwally, S. Mensah, G. Baffou
Journal of Physical Chemistry C 119, 28586–28596 (2015)
[24] Quantifying the Efficiency of Plasmonic Materials for Near-Field Enhancement and Photothermal Conversion
A. Lalisse, G. Tessier, J. Plain, G. Baffou
Journal of Physical Chemistry C 119, 25518–25528 (2015)
[23] Shaping and Patterning Gold Nanoparticles via Micelle Templated Photochemistry
F. Kundrat, G. Baffou, J. Polleux
Nanoscale 7, 15814-15821 (2015)
[22] Reply to : "Validating subcellular thermal changes revealed by fluorescent thermosensors" and "The 10^5 gap issue between calculation and measurement in single-cell thermometry"
G. Baffou, H. Rigneault, D. Marguet, L. Jullien
Nature Methods 12, 803 (2015)
[21] Quantitative study of the photothermal properties of metallic nanowire networks
A. P. Bell, J. A. Fairfield, E. K. McCarthy, S. Mills, J. J. Boland, G. Baffou, D. McCloskey
ACS Nano 9, 5551-5558 (2015)
[20] A critique of methods for temperature imaging in single cells
G. Baffou, H. Rigneault, D. Marguet, L. Jullien
Nature Methods 11, 899-901 (2014)
[19] Time-harmonic optical heating of plasmonic nanoparticles
P. Berto, M. S. A. Mohamed, H. Rigneault, G. Baffou
Physical Review B 90, 035439 (2014)
[18] Deterministic Temperature Shaping using Plasmonic Nanoparticle Assemblies
G. Baffou, E. Bermúdez Ureña, P. Berto, S. Monneret, R. Quidant and H. Rigneault
Nanoscale 6, 8984 - 8989 (2014)
[17] Nanoplasmonics for Chemistry
G. Baffou and R. Quidant
Chemical Society Reviews 43, 3898-3907 (2014)
[16] Super-Heating and Micro-Bubble Generation around Plasmonic Nanoparticles under cw Illumination
G. Baffou, J. Polleux, H. Rigneault, S. Monneret
Journal Physical Chemisty C 118, 4890 (2014)
[15] Photo-induced heating of nanoparticle arrays
G. Baffou, P. Berto, E. Bermúdez Urena, R. Quidant, S. Monneret, J. Polleux, H. Rigneault
ACS Nano 7, 6478–6488 (2013)
[14] Three-dimensional temperature imaging around a gold microwire
P. Bon, N. Belaid, D. Lagrange, H. Rigneault, S. Monneret, G. Baffou
Applied Physics Letters 102, 244103 (2013)
[13] Thermo-plasmonics : using metallic nanostructures as nano-sources of heat
G. Baffou, R. Quidant
Laser and Photonics Reviews 7, 171-187 (2013)
[12] Quantitative absorption spectroscopy of nano-objects
P. Berto, E. Bermúdes Ureña, P. Bon, R. Quidant, H. Rigneault, G. Baffou
Physical Review B 86, 165417 (2012)
[11] Micropatterning Thermoplasmonic Gold Nanoarrays to Manipulate Cell Adhesion
M. Zhu, G. Baffou, N. Meyerbröker, and J. Polleux
ACS Nano 6, 7227–7233 (2012)
[10] Mapping intracellular temperature using Green Fluorescent Protein
J. Donner, S. Thompson, M. Kreuzer, G. Baffou, R. Quidant
Nanoletters 12, 2107–2111 (2012)
[9] Plasmonic Nanoparticle Networks for Light and Heat Concentration
A. Sanchot, G. Baffou, R. Marty, A. Arbouet, R. Quidant, C. Girard, E. Dujardin
ACS Nano 6, 3434–3440 (2012)
[8] Thermal Imaging of Nanostructures by Quantitative Optical Phase Analysis
G. Baffou, P. Bon, J. Savatier, J. Polleux, M. Zhu, M. Merlin, H. Rigneault and S. Monneret
ACS Nano 6, 2452–2458 (2012)
[7] Plasmon-assisted optofluidics
J. S. Donner, G. Baffou, D. McCloskey, R. Quidant
ACS Nano 5, 5457 (2011)
[6] Femtosecond-pulsed optical heating of gold nanoparticle
G. Baffou, H. Rigneault
Physical Review B 84, 035415 (2011)
[5] Thermoplasmonics modeling : A Green function approach
G. Baffou, R. Quidant, C. Girard
Physical Review B 82, 165424 (2010)
[4] Mapping heat origin in plasmonic structures
G. Baffou, C. Girard, R. Quidant
Physical Review Letters 104, 136805 (2010)
[3] Nanoscale control of optical heating in complex plasmonic systems
G. Baffou, R. Quidant, F. J. García de Abajo
ACS Nano 4, 709 (2010)
[2] Heat generation in plasmonic nanostructures : Influence of morphology
G. Baffou, R. Quidant, C. Girard
Applied Physics Letters 94, 153109 (2009)
[1] Temperature mapping around plasmonic nanostructures using fluorescence polarization anisotropy
G. Baffou, M. P. Kreuzer, F. Kulzer, R. Quidant
Optics Express 17, 3291 (2009)