Single-molecule optomechanics in “picocavities”

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Science  11 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6313, pp. 726-729
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah5243

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A cool route to nanospectroscopy

Confining light to a cavity is often used to enhance the interaction between the light and a particle stored within the cavity. Benz et al. worked with a self-assembled monolayer of biphenyl-4-thiol molecules sandwiched between a gold film and a gold nanoparticle. They used laser irradiation to move atoms in the nanoparticle and produced a “picocavity” that was stable at cryogenic temperatures. The authors were then able to obtain time-dependent Raman spectra from individual molecules. Such subwavelength cavities that can localize light to volumes well below 1 nm3 will enable optical experiments on the atomic scale.

Science, this issue p. 726