Optothermal approaches to architected functional nanomaterials and nanostructures

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Li, Jingang, Ph. D.

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The manipulation and engineering of nanomaterials are the core techniques in modern nanotechnology and have been extensively investigated over the past decades. Many optical techniques were developed to manipulate, assemble, and pattern nanomaterials, which have inspired numerous progress in various fields, such as microrobotics, bottom-up nanofabrication, nanomedicine, and microelectronics. With the entropically favorable photon-to-phonon conversion and tailorable opto-thermo-matter coupling, various thermal forces in the light-controlled temperature field can be harnessed to achieve the precise control of nanomaterials at a high spatial and temporal resolution. This Dissertation focuses on optothermal approaches for optical manipulation and structuring of functional nanomaterials and nanostructures on solid substrates for the development of on-chip devices. First, thermophoresis of colloidal species is exploited to optically trap various nanoparticles and biological objects. The assembly and printing of colloidal matter on the substrate from the suspension are demonstrated with the assistance of optothermally controlled depletion forces. Next, by optothermally modulating the nanomaterial-substrate interactions, versatile manipulation and assembly of nanomaterials on solid substrates can be achieved. Precise manipulation of nanomaterials, orbital rotation of nanomotors, and reconfigurable assembly of functional nanostructures on the solid substrate are demonstrated. Last, opto-thermoplasmonic nanolithography is developed for on-demand patterning of a variety of two-dimensional materials through plasmon-enhanced thermal oxidation and sublimation. It is anticipated that the studies presented here provide an ideal platform for studying colloidal science, materials science, and nanophotonics, and the optothermally architected nanomaterials and nanostructures are expected to stimulate more advances in a broad range of fields.


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