Damping of Acoustic Vibrations of Single Gold Nanoparticles Optically Trapped in Water

We combine ultrafast pump–probe spectroscopy with optical trapping to study homogeneous damping of the acoustic vibrations of single gold nanospheres (80 nm diameter) and nanorods (25 nm diameter by 60 nm length) in water. We find a significant particle-to-particle variation in damping times. Our results indicate that vibrational damping occurs not only by dissipation into the liquid, but also by damping mechanisms intrinsic to the particle. Our experiment opens the study of mechanisms of intrinsic mechanical dissipation in metals at frequencies 1–1000 GHz, a range that has been difficult to access thus far.