Transient Optical Response of a Single Gold Nanoantenna: The Role of Plasmon Detuning
We study by femtosecond pump–probe microscopy the transient plasmonic response of individual gold nanoantennas fabricated by electron-beam lithography on a glass substrate. By exploiting the capability of the fabrication technique to control geometrical parameters at the nanoscale, we tuned the plasmonic resonance in a broad wavelength range, from the visible to the infrared. Numerical simulations based on a three-temperature model (3TM) for the electrons and lattice dynamics, combined with full-wave numerical analysis and semiclassical theory of optical transitions in the solid state, are compared with the measurements on a single gold nanoantenna probed at different wavelengths. The agreement between the experiment and the prediction of the 3TM turns out to be comparable to that achievable with the more sophisticated Boltzmann equation formalism. We also investigate the influence of the plasmon detuning with respect to the pump and probe wavelengths on the nonlinear optical response using different nanoantennas. Quantitative comparison of the experimental data with the theoretical model also provides a disentanglement of the different contributions to the optical nonlinearity of gold giving rise to the complex features observed in the transient optical response. Our study provides a complete analysis of the physical mechanisms dominating the nonlinear plasmon dynamics of an individual nano-object taking place on a few ps time scale.