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Optomechanical single-molecule analysis

Label-free detection and imaging of single nanoparticles and molecules are of fundamental interest in a great varietyof fields, due to the applicability to a wider range of samples. For small metal nanoparticles, optical absorption becomes more efficient than scattering, which has enabled the imaging of single Au nanoparticles by optical photothermal imaging.

We are developing a novel photothermal microscopy technique based on the thermal sensitivity of vibrating nanomechanical resonators, such as silicon nitride strings and membranes. This new method enables the visualisation and characterisation of single nanoparticles, nanoplasmonic antennas, and single molecules with unprecedented sensitivity.

Key Publications

  • M.-H. Chien, M. Brameshuber , B. K. Rossboth , G. J. Schütz , and S. Schmid, "Single-molecule optical absorption imaging by nanomechanical photothermal sensing", PNAS 115, 44; 11150 - 11155 (2018).
  • S. Schmid, K. Wu, P. E. Larsen, T. Rindzevicius, and A. Boisen, "Low-Power Photothermal Probing of Single Plasmonic Nanostructures with Nanomechanical String Resonators", Nano Lett. 14, 2318-2321 (2014).
  • T. Larsen, S. Schmid, L. G. Villanueva, and A. Boisen. “Photothermal Analysis of Individual Nanoparticulate Samples Using Micromechanical Resonators.” ACS Nano 7, 6188 (2013).
  • T. Larsen, S. Schmid, L. Gronberg, A. O. Niskanen, J. Hassel, S. Dohn, and A. Boisen. “Ultrasensitive String-based Temperature Sensors.” Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 121901 (2011).



  • Biophysics Group (Prof. Gerhard Schütz), Institute of Applied Physics, TU Wien.