Chemically synthesized metal nanoparticles with morphological chiral features are known to exhibit strong circular dichroism. However, we still lack understanding of the correlation between morphological and chiroptical features of plasmonic nanoparticles. To shed light on that question, single nanoparticle experiments are required. We performed photothermal circular dichroism measurements of single chiral and achiral gold nanoparticles and correlated the chiroptical response to the 3D morphology of the same nanoparticles retrieved by electron tomography. In contrast to an ensemble measurement, we show that individual particles within the ensemble display a broad distribution of strength and handedness of circular dichroism signals. Whereas obvious structural chiral features, such as helical wrinkles, translate into chiroptical ones, nanoparticles with less obvious chiral morphological features can also display strong circular dichroism signals. Interestingly, we find that even seemingly achiral nanoparticles can display large g-factors. The origin of this circular dichroism signal is discussed in terms of plasmonics and other potentially relevant factors.

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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) , European Union Horizon 2020
ACS Photonics
Hybrid Nanosystems

Spaeth, P., Adhikari, S., Heyvaert, W., Zhuo, X., Garcia, I., Liz-Marzán, L. M., … Albrecht, W. (2022). Photothermal Circular Dichroism Measurements of Single Chiral Gold Nanoparticles Correlated with Electron Tomography. ACS Photonics, 9(13), 3995–4004. doi:10.1021/acsphotonics.2c01457