Dependence of SERS enhancement on the chemical composition and structure of Ag/Au hybrid nanoparticles.
ABSTRACT: Noble metal nanoparticles (NPs) such as silver (Ag) and gold (Au) have unique plasmonic properties that give rise to surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Generally, Ag NPs have much stronger plasmonic properties and, hence, provide stronger SERS signals than Au NPs. However, Ag NPs lack the chemical stability and biocompatibility of comparable Au NPs and typically exhibit the most intense plasmonic resonance at wavelengths much shorter than the optimal spectral region for many biomedical applications. To overcome these issues, various experimental efforts have been devoted to the synthesis of Ag/Au hybrid NPs for the purpose of SERS detections. However, a complete understanding on how the SERS enhancement depends on the chemical composition and structure of these nanoparticles has not been achieved. In this study, Mie theory and the discrete dipole approximation have been used to calculate the plasmonic spectra and near-field electromagnetic enhancements of Ag/Au hybrid NPs. In particular, we discuss how the electromagnetic enhancement depends on the mole fraction of Au in Ag/Au alloy NPs and how one may use extinction spectra to distinguish between Ag/Au alloyed NPs and Ag-Au core-shell NPs. We also show that for incident laser wavelengths between ∼410 nm and 520 nm, Ag/Au alloyed NPs provide better electromagnetic enhancement than pure Ag, pure Au, or Ag-Au core-shell structured NPs. Finally, we show that silica-core Ag/Au alloy shelled NPs provide even better performance than pure Ag/Au alloy or pure solid Ag and pure solid Au NPs. The theoretical results presented will be beneficial to the experimental efforts in optimizing the design of Ag/Au hybrid NPs for SERS-based detection methods.
Project description:A simple high-throughput approach is presented in this work to fabricate the Au nanoparticles (NPs)/nanogap/Au NPs structure for surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). This plasmonic nanostructure can be prepared feasibly by the combination of rapid thermal annealing (RTA), atomic layer deposition (ALD) and chemical etching process. The nanogap size between Au NPs can be easily and precisely tuned to nanometer scale by adjusting the thickness of sacrificial ALD Al2O3 layer. Finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation data indicate that most of enhanced field locates at Au NPs nanogap area. Moreover, Au NPs/nanogap/Au NPs structure with smaller gap exhibits the larger electromagnetic field. Experimental results agree well with FDTD simulation data, the plasmonic structure with smaller nanogap size has a stronger Raman intensity. There is highly strong plasmonic coupling in the Au nanogap, so that a great SERS effect is obtained when detecting methylene blue (MB) molecules with an enhancement factor (EF) over 107. Furthermore, this plasmonic nanostructure can be designed on large area with high density and high intensity hot spots. This strategy of producing nanoscale metal gap on large area has significant implications for ultrasensitive Raman detection and practical SERS application.
Project description:A distinctive synthetic method for the efficient synthesis of multifunctional bimetallic plasmonic Au@Ag core@shell nanoparticles (NPs) with tunable size, morphology, and localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) using Triton X-100/hexanol-1/deionized water/cyclohexane-based water-in-oil (W/O) microemulsion (ME) is described. The W/O ME acted as a "true nanoreactor" for the synthesis of Au@Ag core@shell NPs by providing a confined and controlled environment and suppressing the nucleation, growth, agglomeration, and aggregation of the NPs. High-resolution transmission electron microscopic analysis of the synthesized Au@Ag core@shell NPs revealed an "unusual core@shell" contrast, and the selected area electron diffraction and Moiré patterns showed that Au layers are paralleled to Ag layers, thus indicating the formation of Au@Ag core@shell NPs. Interestingly, the UV-visible spectrum of the Au@Ag core@shell NPs exhibited enthralling plasmonic properties by introducing a high-frequency quadrupolar LSPR mode originated from the isolated Au@Ag NPs along with a low-frequency dipolar LSPR mode originated from the coupled Au@Ag NPs. The effective plasmonic enhancement of the Au@Ag core@shell NPs is attributed to the extreme enhancement of the localized electromagnetic field by coupling of the localized surface plasmons of the Au core and Ag shell. The mechanisms for the nucleation and growth of Au@Ag core@shell NPs in W/O ME have been proposed. A unique electron transfer phenomenon between the Au core and Ag shell is elucidated for better understanding and manipulation of the electronic properties, which evinced the development of Au@Ag core@shell NPs through suppression of the galvanic replacement reaction.
Project description:In this paper, we present an investigation on the use of Au-Ag alloy popcorn-shaped nanoparticles (NPs) to realise the broadband optical absorption enhancement of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). Both simulation and experimental results indicate that compared with regular plasmonic NPs, such as nano-spheres, irregular popcorn-shaped alloy NPs exhibit absorption enhancement over a broad wavelength range due to the excitation of localized surface plasmons (LSPs) at different wavelengths. The power conversion efficiency (PCE) of DSCs is enhanced by 16% from 5.26% to 6.09% by incorporating 2.38 wt% Au-Ag alloy popcorn NPs. Moreover, by adding a scattering layer on the exterior of the counter electrode, the popcorn NPs demonstrate an even stronger ability to increase the PCE by 32% from 5.94% to 7.85%, which results from the more efficient excitation of the LSP mode on the popcorn NPs.
Project description:Alloyed metals in nanoscale exhibit some intriguing features that are absent in mono-metallic nanostructures. Here we report silver and gold alloyed nanoislands with high tunability of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) wavelength in the visible range for wafer-level plasmonic color filter arrays. The nanofabrication includes two simple steps of concurrent thermal evaporation of Ag and Au grains and solid-state dewetting of the as-deposited nanocomposite thin film. The alloy ratio during the evaporation precisely tunes the LSPR wavelengths within 415-609 nm spectrum range. The elemental composition map reveals that alloyed nanoislands are completely miscible while preserving uniform size, regardless of the alloy ratio. Besides, the multiple lift-off processes and thermal dewetting of Ag/Au nanocomposite thin films successfully demonstrate the wafer-level nanofabrication of plasmonic color filter mosaic. Each plasmonic color pixel comprises different alloy ratio and efficiently transmits colors ranging from cyan, yellow, and magenta. The transmission spectra transposed onto a CIE 1931 color map show comparable color diversity to the plasmonic color filters fabricated by conventional e-beam lithographic techniques. This novel method provides a new direction for large-scale and visible plasmonic color filter arrays in advanced display or imaging applications.
Project description:Multi-metallic alloy nanoparticles (NPs) can offer a promising route for the integration of multi-functional elements by the adaptation of advantageous individual NP properties and thus can exhibit the multi-functional dynamic properties arisen from the electronic heterogeneity as well as configurational diversity. The integration of Pt-based metallic alloy NPs are imperative in the catalytic, sensing, and energy applications; however, it usually suffers from the difficulty in the fabrication of morphologically well-structured and elementally well-alloyed NPs, which yields poor plasmonic responses. In this work, the improved morphological and localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) properties of fully alloyed bimetallic AgPt and monometallic Pt NPs are demonstrated on sapphire (0001) via the one-step solid-state dewetting (SSD) of the Ag/Pt bilayers. In a sharp contrast to the previous studies of pure Pt NPs, the surface morphology of the resulting AgPt and Pt NPs in this work are significantly improved such that they possess larger size, increased interparticle gaps, and improved uniformity. The intermixing of Ag and Pt atoms, AgPt alloy formation, and concurrent sublimation of Ag atoms plays the major roles in the fabrication of bimetallic AgPt and monometallic Pt NPs along with the enhanced global diffusion and energy minimization of NP system. The fabricated AgPt and Pt NPs show much-enhanced LSPR responses as compared to the pure Pt NPs in the previous studies, and the excitation of dipolar, quadrupolar, multipolar and higher-order resonance modes is realized depending upon the size, configuration, and elemental compositions. The LSPR peaks demonstrate drastic alteration along with the evolution of AgPt and Pt NPs, i.e., the resonance peaks are shifted and enhanced by the variation of size and Ag content.
Project description:Bimetallic Ag@Au nanoparticles (NPs) have received significant research interest because of their unique optical properties and molecular sensing ability through surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). However, the synthesis of Ag@Au core-shell plasmonic nanostructures with precisely controlled size and shape remained a great challenge. Here, we report a simple approach for the synthesis of bimetallic Ag@Au nanodisks of about 13.5 nm thickness and different diameters through a seed-mediated growth process. The synthesis involves the conformal deposition of Au atoms at the corner sites of Ag nanoplate (AgNPL) seeds coupled with site-selective oxidative etching of AgNPL edges to generate Ag@Au nanodisks. The resultant Ag@Au nanodisks manifest significantly improved chemical stability and tunable localized surface plasmon resonance from the visible to the near-infrared spectral range. Moreover, in comparison to AgNPLs, the Ag@Au nanodisks showed greatly enhanced SERS performance with an enhancement factor up to 0.47 × 105, which is nearly 3-fold higher than that of the original AgNPLs (0.18 × 105). Furthermore, the Ag@Au nanodisks show a high sensitivity for detecting probe molecules such as crystal violet of concentration as low as 10-9 M and excellent reproducibility, with the SERS intensity fluctuation less than 12.5%. The synthesis route adapted for the controlled fabrication of Ag@Au nanodisks can be a potential platform for maneuvering other bimetallic plasmonic nanostructures useful for plasmonics and sensing applications.
Project description:In this study, we prepared adenosine triphosphate (ATP) encapsulated liposomes, and assessed their applicability for the surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)-based assays with gold-silver alloy (Au@Ag)-assembled silica nanoparticles (NPs; SiO?@Au@Ag). The liposomes were prepared by the thin film hydration method from a mixture of l-?-phosphatidylcholine, cholesterol, and PE-PEG2000 in chloroform; evaporating the solvent, followed by hydration of the resulting thin film with ATP in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). Upon lysis of the liposome, the SERS intensity of the SiO?@Au@Ag NPs increased with the logarithm of number of ATP-encapsulated liposomes after lysis in the range of 8 × 10? to 8 × 1010. The detection limit of liposome was calculated to be 1.3 × 10-17 mol. The successful application of ATP-encapsulated liposomes to SiO?@Au@Ag NPs based SERS analysis has opened a new avenue for Raman label chemical (RCL)-encapsulated liposome-enhanced SERS-based immunoassays.
Project description:We report on a novel strategy to tune the structural and optical properties of luminescent alloyed quantum dot (QD) nanocrystals using plasmonic gold (Au) and silver (Ag) nanoparticles (NPs). Alloyed CdZnSeS QDs were synthesized via the organometallic synthetic route with different fabrication strategies that involve alternative utilization of blends of organic surfactants, ligands, capping agents, and plasmonic oleylamine (OLA)-functionalized AuNPs and AgNPs. Ligand exchange with thiol l-cysteine (l-cyst) was used to prepare the hydrophilic nanocrystals. Analysis of the structural properties using powder X-ray diffraction revealed that under the same experimental condition, the plasmonic NPs altered the diffractive crystal structure of the alloyed QDs. Depending on the fabrication strategy, the crystal nature of OLA-AuNP-assisted CdZnSeS QDs was a pure hexagonal wurtzite domain and a cubic zinc-blende domain, whereas the diffraction pattern of OLA-AgNP-assisted CdZnSeS QDs was dominantly a cubic zinc-blende domain. Insights into the growth morphology of the QDs revealed a steady transformation from a heterogeneous growth pattern to a homogenous growth pattern that was strongly influenced by the plasmonic NPs. Tuning the optical properties of the alloyed QDs via plasmonic optical engineering showed that the photoluminescence (PL) quantum yield (QY) of the AuNP-assisted l-cyst-CdZnSeS QDs was tuned from 10 to 31%, whereas the PL QY of the AgNP-assisted l-cyst-CdZnSeS QDs was tuned from 15 to 90%. The low PL QY was associated with the surface defect state, while the remarkably high PL QY exhibited by the AgNP-assisted l-cyst-CdZnSeS QDs lends strong affirmation that the fabrication strategy employed in this work provides a unique opportunity to create single ensemble, multifunctional, highly fluorescent alloyed QDs for tailored biological applications.
Project description:A surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) biosensor has been developed by incorporating a gold nanohole array with a SERS probe (a gold nanostar@Raman-reporter@silica sandwich structure) into a single detection platform via DNA hybridization, which circumvents the nanoparticle aggregation and the inefficient Raman scattering issues. Strong plasmonic coupling between the Au nanostar and the Au nanohole array results in a large enhancement of the electromagnetic field, leading to amplification of the SERS signal. The SERS sensor has been used to detect Ag(I) and Hg(II) ions in human saliva because both the metal ions could be released from dental amalgam fillings. The developed SERS sensor can be adapted as a general detection platform for non-invasive measurements of a wide range of analytes such as metal ions, small molecules, DNA and proteins in body fluids.
Project description:Most previous studies relating to surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) signal enhancement were focused on the interaction between the light and the substrate in the x-y axis. 3D SERS substrates reported in the most of previous papers could contribute partial SERS enhancement via z axis, but the increases of the surface area were the main target for those reports. However, the z axis is also useful in achieving improved SERS intensity. In this work, hot spots along the z axis were specifically created in a sandwich nanofilm. Sandwich nanofilms were prepared with self-assembly and Langmuir-Blodgett techniques, and comprised of monolayer Au nanorings sandwiched between bottom Ag mirror and top Ag cover films. Monolayer Au nanorings were formed by self-assembly at the interface of water and hexane, followed by Langmuir-Blodgett transfer to a substrate with sputtered Ag mirror film. Their hollow property allows the light transmitted through a cover film. The use of a Ag cover layer of tens nanometers in thickness was critical, which allowed light access to the middle Au nanorings and the bottom Ag mirror, resulting in more plasmonic resonance and coupling along perpendicular interfaces (z-axis). The as-designed sandwich nanofilms could achieve an overall ~8 times SERS signals amplification compared to only the Au nanorings layer, which was principally attributed to enhanced electromagnetic fields along the created z-axis. Theoretical simulations based on finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method showed consistent results with the experimental ones. This study points out a new direction to enhance the SERS intensity by involving more hot spots in z-axis in a designer nanostructure for high-performance molecular recognition and detection.