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

22 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


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

How much support was provided by MRSEC?

  • Partial

Reporting period for MRSEC

  • Period 4

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