Abstract

A technique to fabricate nanogaps with controllably variable gap width in silver (Ag) nanowires (NWs) by photothermal-induced stress utilizing a focused continuous-wave laser (532 nm) is presented. For the case of an Ag NW on gold thin film, a gap width starting from 20  nm is achieved with a critical minimum power (CMP) of about 160 mW, whereas in the case of an Ag NW placed on top of a zinc oxide NW, the attained gap width is as small as a few nm (<10  nm) with a CMP of only 100  mW. In both cases, the CMP is much lower as compared to the required CMP (280  mW) for an Ag NW placed on a bare silica substrate. The photothermal-induced stress combined with Rayleigh instability, melting, and sublimation of Ag aids in breaking the Ag NW. In particular, the former one plays a key role in attaining an extremely narrow gap. This technique to fabricate sub-100 nm nanogaps in metal NWs can be extensively implemented in fabrication and maintenance of nanomechanical, nanoplasmonic, and nanoelectronic devices.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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