Here, we report the characterization of the transport of micro- and nanospheres in a simple two-dimensional square nanoscale plasmonic optical lattice. The optical potential was created by exciting plasmon resonance by way of illuminating an array of gold nanodiscs with a loosely focused Gaussian beam. This optical potential produced both in-lattice particle transport behavior, which was due to near-field optical gradient forces, and high-velocity (∼μm/s) out-of-lattice particle transport. As a comparison, the natural convection velocity field from a delocalized temperature profile produced by the photothermal heating of the nanoplasmonic array was computed in numerical simulations. This work elucidates the role of photothermal effects on micro- and nanoparticle transport in plasmonic optical lattices.

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