Templated Growth of Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering-Active Branched Gold Nanoparticles within Radial Mesoporous Silica Shells
mediaposted on 17.12.2015, 10:24 by Marta N. Sanz-Ortiz, Kadir Sentosun, Sara Bals, Luis M. Liz-Marzán
Noble metal nanoparticles are widely used as probes or substrates for surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), due to their characteristic plasmon resonances in the visible and near-IR spectral ranges. Aiming at obtaining a versatile system with high SERS performance, we developed the synthesis of quasi-monodisperse, nonaggregated gold nanoparticles protected by radial mesoporous silica shells. The radial mesoporous channels were used as templates for the growth of gold tips branching out from the cores, thereby improving the plasmonic performance of the particles while favoring the localization of analyte molecules at high electric field regions: close to the tips, inside the pores. The method, which additionally provides control over tip length, was successfully applied to gold nanoparticles with various shapes, leading to materials with highly efficient SERS performance. The obtained nanoparticles are stable in ethanol and water upon thermal consolidation and can be safely stored as a powder.