Controlling the nano- and micropatterning of metal structures is an important requirement for various technological applications in photonics and biosensing. This work presents a method for controllably creating silver micropatterns by laser-induced photosculpting. Photosculpting is driven by plasmonic interactions between pulsed laser radiation and silver nanorods (AgNRs) in aqueous suspension; this process leads to optical binding forces transporting the AgNRs in the surroundings, while electronic thermalization results in photooxidation, melting, and ripening of the AgNRs into well-defined 3D structures. This work call these structures Airy castles due to their structural similarity with a diffraction-limited Airy disk. The photosculpted Airy castles contain emissive Ag nanoclusters, allowing for the visualization and examination of the aggregation process using luminescence microscopy. This work comprehensively examines the factors that define the photosculpting process, namely, the concentration and shape of the AgNRs, as well as the energy, power, and repetition rate of the laser. Finally, this work investigates the potential applications by measuring the metal-enhanced luminescence of a europium-based luminophore using Airy castles.
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