Quantifying the photothermal conversion efficiency of plasmonic nanoparticles by means of terahertz radiation

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© 2019 Author(s). The accurate determination of the photothermal response of nanomaterials represents an essential aspect in many fields, such as nanomedicine. Specifically, photothermal cancer therapies rely on the precise knowledge of the light-to-heat transfer properties of plasmonic nanoparticles to achieve the desired temperature-induced effects in biological tissues. In this work, we present a novel method for the quantification of the photothermal effect exhibited by nanoparticles in aqueous dispersions. By combining the spatial and temporal thermal dynamics acquired at terahertz frequencies, the photothermal conversion efficiency associated with the geometry of the plasmonic nanoparticles can be retrieved in a noncontact and noninvasive manner. The proposed technique can be extended to the characterization of all those nanomaterials which feature a temperature-dependent variation of the refractive index in the terahertz regime.