Strong Optical Limiting of Silver-Containing Nanocrystalline Particles in Stable Suspensions

Metal and metal sulfide nanoparticles are prepared using a method that is based on the rapid expansion of supercritical fluid solution (RESS) into a liquid solution and characterized using transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction methods. The nanoparticles form solution-like stable suspensions in the presence of a stabilization agent such as poly(N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone) (PVP) polymer. The stable suspensions allow systematic nonlinear optical measurements. The nanocrystalline silver metal and silver sulfide particles in PVP polymer-stabilized ethanol suspensions of high linear transmittance exhibit excellent optical limiting properties, with the optical limiting responses toward nanosecond laser pulses at 532 nm being much stronger than those of benchmark materials [60]fullerene and chloroaluminum phthalocyanine in solution. A comparison of the results with those of stable suspensions of other nanoparticles including cadmium sulfide, lead sulfide, and nickel suggests that the optical limiting properties are unique to the nanoscopic silver-containing materials. Mechanistic issues concerning the optical limiting performance of the silver-containing nanocrystalline particles are discussed, and a nonlinear absorption mechanism is proposed.