Gold nanorods are promising nanoparticle-orientation sensors because they exhibit wavelength and angle-dependent optical patterns in their differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy images. In this paper, we report a finite-difference time-domain method to simulate DIC images using nanorods as model probes. First, we created a DIC image library of nanorods as a function of imaging wavelength and rotation angle that showed good agreement with experimental results. Second, we used this simulation tool to explain why the patterns inverted from bright to dark when the imaging wavelength increased from below to above the plasmon resonance of the nanorod. We found that this intensity inversion resulted from reversal in the electric field direction depending on wavelength relative to the nanorod plasmon resonance. Finally, we showed that this DIC contrast inversion is a general phenomenon by measuring and simulating DIC images from gold nanorods of different sizes and gold nanostars.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films