The Ultrafast Laser Pump-Probe Technique for Thermal Characterization of Materials With Micro/Nanostructures

Jie Zhu, Xuewang Wu, Dustin M. Lattery, Wei Zheng, Xiaojia Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Advances in nano-electronics, nano-optics, energy harvesting materials, and nanoparticle-based photothermal therapies are motivating studies of the thermal properties of micro/nanostructures. Thus, the demands for highly sensitive and accurate thermal measurement techniques are encouraged for both fundamental studies and industrial applications. The time-domain thermoreflectance (TDTR) method, based on an ultrafast pump-probe technique, enables high-fidelity thermal measurements at the micro/nanoscale and the observation of dynamic processes with sub-picosecond time resolution. TDTR is an optical technique, capable of measuring the thermal properties of micro/nanostructures, including thermal conductivity and interfacial thermal conductance of bulk substrates, thin films, and nanoparticles, among others. Here we review some recent developments in the state-of-the-art ultrafast pump-probe method applied to study the thermal and magnetic properties of materials at the micro- and nanometer scales. We also discuss in detail improvements to this technique by presenting several example extensions to its capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-198
Number of pages22
JournalNanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the University of Minnesota MRSEC under Award Number DMR-1420013. D.M.L. and X.J.W. are grateful for support in part by the C-SPIN, one of six centers of STARnet, a Semiconductor Research Corporation program, sponsored by MARCO and DARPA. X.W.W and X.J.W. appreciate the support from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). J.Z. is grateful for support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51336009 and No. 51373184).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis.


  • thermal characterization
  • time-domain thermoreflectance
  • time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect
  • transient absorption
  • Ultrafast pump-probe method

MRSEC Support

  • Partial


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