Direct temperature mapping of nanoscale plasmonic devices

Boris Desiatov, Ilya Goykhman, Uriel Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Side by side with the great advantages of plasmonics in nanoscale light confinement, the inevitable ohmic loss results in significant joule heating in plasmonic devices. Therefore, understanding optical-induced heat generation and heat transport in integrated on-chip plasmonic devices is of major importance. Specifically, there is a need for in situ visualization of electromagnetic induced thermal energy distribution with high spatial resolution. This paper studies the heat distribution in silicon plasmonic nanotips. Light is coupled to the plasmonic nanotips from a silicon nanowaveguide that is integrated with the tip on chip. Heat is generated by light absorption in the metal surrounding the silicon nanotip. The steady-state thermal distribution is studied numerically and measured experimentally using the approach of scanning thermal microscopy. It is shown that following the nanoscale heat generation by a 10 mW light source within a silicon photonic waveguide the temperature in the region of the nanotip is increased by ∼15 C compared with the ambient temperature. Furthermore, we also perform a numerical study of the dynamics of the heat transport. Given the nanoscale dimensions of the structure, significant heating is expected to occur within the time frame of picoseconds. The capability of measuring temperature distribution of plasmonic structures at the nanoscale is shown to be a powerful tool and may be used in future applications related to thermal plasmonic applications such as control heating of liquids, thermal photovoltaic, nanochemistry, medicine, heat-assisted magnetic memories, and nanolithography.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)648-652
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 12 Feb 2014


  • Surface plasmons
  • nanophotonics
  • optical heating
  • scanning thermal microscopy
  • thermal imaging


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