Heat generation by optically and thermally interacting aggregates of gold nanoparticles under illumination.
The generation of heat by clusters and arrays of gold nanoparticles under illumination is investigated theoretically. The nanoparticles are embedded in a homogeneous dielectric medium, and the finite thermal resistance at the interface between the nanoparticle and the medium is taken into account. An analytic solution is derived for the case of a single nanoparticle. The T-matrix method is used to calculate the energy absorption efficiency of groups of nanoparticles, taking into account their optical interactions. Heat transfer equations are developed that take into account thermal interactions between nanoparticles. The equations are solved numerically using the finite element software COMSOL. Periodic boundary conditions are applied to treat the thermal interactions between the nanoparticles for arrays of nanoparticles. Results are presented for illumination by a standard xenon flash lamp. The thermal resistance at the nanoparticle-medium interface is found to strongly influence the nanoparticle temperature, but to have negligible influence on the temperature of the dielectric medium after a few tens of nanoseconds of exposure to the flash lamp pulse. Optical interactions are found to be important if particle centres are separated by about twice the particle diameter or less. Thermal interactions between nanoparticles via the medium are found to be the dominant factor in determining the temperature increase in the dielectric medium. The maximum temperature increase is proportional to the volume fraction of the nanoparticles in the medium.