The study of nonthermal electrons, generated upon photoexcitation of plasmonic nanostructures, plays a key role in a variety of contexts, from photocatalysis and energy conversion to photodetection and nonlinear optics. Their ultrafast relaxation and subsequent release of energy to a low energy distribution of thermalized hot electrons has been the subject of a myriad of papers, mostly based on femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy (FTAS). However, the FTAS signal stems from a complex interplay of different contributions arising from both nonthermal and thermal electrons, making the disentanglement of the two a very challenging task, so far accomplished only in terms of numerical simulations. Here a combined approach is introduced, based on a post-processing of the FTAS measurements guided by a reduced semiclassical model, the so-called extended two-temperature model, which has allowed the purely nonthermal contribution to the pump-probe experimental map recorded for 2D arrays of gold nanoellipsoids to be isolated. This approach displays the intimate correlation between electron energy and probe photon energy on the ultrafast time-scale of electron thermalization. It also sheds new light on the ultrafast transient optical response of gold nanostructures, and will help the development of optimized plasmonic configurations for nonthermal electrons generation and harvesting.

Disentangling the Temporal Dynamics of Nonthermal Electrons in Photoexcited Gold Nanostructures

Magnozzi M.;Alabastri A.;Proietti Zaccaria R.;Paladini A.
2021

Abstract

The study of nonthermal electrons, generated upon photoexcitation of plasmonic nanostructures, plays a key role in a variety of contexts, from photocatalysis and energy conversion to photodetection and nonlinear optics. Their ultrafast relaxation and subsequent release of energy to a low energy distribution of thermalized hot electrons has been the subject of a myriad of papers, mostly based on femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy (FTAS). However, the FTAS signal stems from a complex interplay of different contributions arising from both nonthermal and thermal electrons, making the disentanglement of the two a very challenging task, so far accomplished only in terms of numerical simulations. Here a combined approach is introduced, based on a post-processing of the FTAS measurements guided by a reduced semiclassical model, the so-called extended two-temperature model, which has allowed the purely nonthermal contribution to the pump-probe experimental map recorded for 2D arrays of gold nanoellipsoids to be isolated. This approach displays the intimate correlation between electron energy and probe photon energy on the ultrafast time-scale of electron thermalization. It also sheds new light on the ultrafast transient optical response of gold nanostructures, and will help the development of optimized plasmonic configurations for nonthermal electrons generation and harvesting.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1071960
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