Plasmon-Modulated Light Scattering from Gold Nanocrystal-Decorated Hollow Mesoporous Silica Microspheres

Localized surface plasmon resonances of noble metal nanocrystals are powerful in enhancing a variety of linear and nonlinear optical signals and photorelated processes. Here we demonstrate the plasmonic enhancement of the light scattering from hollow mesoporous silica microspheres by attaching a dense layer of gold nanocrystals onto the outer surface of the microspheres. The attachment of gold nanocrystals induces both the shift and intensity increase in the resonant scattering peaks of the microspheres. The spectral region of the resonant scattering enhancement can be controlled by using gold nanocrystals with different plasmon resonance wavelengths. The spectral region of the enhancement is independent of the microsphere diameter. The scattering enhancement factor ranges from 20 to 130, depending on the plasmonic properties and surface coverage of the attached gold nanocrystals. The systematic evolution of the scattering spectra of the individual microspheres is also revealed by chemically etching away the attached gold nanocrystals gradually.