Femtosecond laser irradiation of assembled nanoprisms on a quartz substrate at their strong absorbing surface plasmon resonance frequency causes their propulsion from the substrate. SEM and AFM show that the particles fly while keeping their prismatic shape, but they decrease in size by an amount that can be calculated assuming atomic sublimation. Several mechanisms are mentioned, but the sublimation mechanism, which rapidly builds up pressure under the particle and propels it away from substrate, is discussed in detail. From the kinetic energy given to the flying nanoparticle, an initial velocity of ∼160 m/s (∼360 miles/h) is calculated. The dependence of the observed flying mechanism on the rate of energy deposition (i.e., with nanosecond vs femtosecond laser pulses) is discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/wenyu_huang/28/