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Thin films composed of gold nanoparticles dispersed in a dielectric matrix: The influence of the host matrix on the optical and mechanical responses

Thin films composed of gold nanoparticles dispersed in a dielectric matrix: The influence of the host matrix on the optical and mechanical responses
Thin films composed of gold nanoparticles dispersed in a dielectric matrix: The influence of the host matrix on the optical and mechanical responses
Gold nanoparticles were dispersed in two different dielectric matrices, TiO2 and Al2O3, using magnetron sputtering and a post-deposition annealing treatment. The main goal of the present work was to study how the two different host dielectric matrices, and the resulting microstructure evolution (including both the nanoparticles and the host matrix itself) promoted by thermal annealing, influenced the physical properties of the films. In particular, the structure and morphology of the nanocomposites were correlated with the optical response of the thin films, namely their localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) characteristics. Furthermore, and in order to scan the future application of the two thin film system in different types of sensors (namely biological ones), their functional behaviour (hardness and Young's modulus change) was also evaluated. Despite the similar Au concentrations in both matrices (~ 11 at.%), very different microstructural features were observed, which were found to depend strongly on the annealing temperature. The main structural differences included: (i) the early crystallization of the TiO2 host matrix, while the Al2O3 one remained amorphous up to 800 °C; (ii) different grain size evolution behaviours with the annealing temperature, namely an almost linear increase for the Au:TiO2 system (from 3 to 11 nm), and the approximately constant values observed in the Au:Al2O3 system (4–5 nm). The results from the nanoparticle size distributions were also found to be quite sensitive to the surrounding matrix, suggesting different mechanisms for the nanoparticle growth (particle migration and coalescence dominating in TiO2 and Ostwald ripening in Al2O3). These different clustering behaviours induced different transmittance-LSPR responses and a good mechanical stability, which opens the possibility for future use of these nanocomposite thin film systems in some envisaged applications (e.g. LSPR-biosensors).
0040-6090
8-17
Borges, J.
c8e5c89d-68cf-454e-a7c3-4f4629f32120
Rodrigues, M.S.
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Kubart, T.
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Kumar, S.
c3d461c7-96cb-437d-8f05-0e7334c8fcb6
Leifer, K.
c85ff2f6-ded0-440c-9f95-61e2526f3573
Evaristo, M.
651c8908-cfdc-4e50-836b-56f28259ad40
Cavaleiro, A.
cec78d64-a0e9-497c-8856-0601947547e0
Apreutesei, M.
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Pereira, R.M.S.
fbf65d39-9ea6-4fc1-8a02-d189df6e5ea0
Vasilevskiy, M.I.
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Polcar, T.
c669b663-3ba9-4e7b-9f97-8ef5655ac6d2
Vaz, F.
ba6841e6-8ce6-4015-a24e-8538df435147
Borges, J.
c8e5c89d-68cf-454e-a7c3-4f4629f32120
Rodrigues, M.S.
8ee697c5-af21-45e7-b905-a1f76b4c0b47
Kubart, T.
7b90ed7d-490c-49c6-bb19-c31415889528
Kumar, S.
c3d461c7-96cb-437d-8f05-0e7334c8fcb6
Leifer, K.
c85ff2f6-ded0-440c-9f95-61e2526f3573
Evaristo, M.
651c8908-cfdc-4e50-836b-56f28259ad40
Cavaleiro, A.
cec78d64-a0e9-497c-8856-0601947547e0
Apreutesei, M.
88e5f981-ab70-4b6f-8948-cb8362c137b2
Pereira, R.M.S.
fbf65d39-9ea6-4fc1-8a02-d189df6e5ea0
Vasilevskiy, M.I.
dcf70478-adb2-4cf2-b769-8d61babd8ba7
Polcar, T.
c669b663-3ba9-4e7b-9f97-8ef5655ac6d2
Vaz, F.
ba6841e6-8ce6-4015-a24e-8538df435147

Borges, J., Rodrigues, M.S., Kubart, T., Kumar, S., Leifer, K., Evaristo, M., Cavaleiro, A., Apreutesei, M., Pereira, R.M.S., Vasilevskiy, M.I., Polcar, T. and Vaz, F. (2015) Thin films composed of gold nanoparticles dispersed in a dielectric matrix: The influence of the host matrix on the optical and mechanical responses. Thin Solid Films, 596, 8-17. (doi:10.1016/j.tsf.2015.08.058).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Gold nanoparticles were dispersed in two different dielectric matrices, TiO2 and Al2O3, using magnetron sputtering and a post-deposition annealing treatment. The main goal of the present work was to study how the two different host dielectric matrices, and the resulting microstructure evolution (including both the nanoparticles and the host matrix itself) promoted by thermal annealing, influenced the physical properties of the films. In particular, the structure and morphology of the nanocomposites were correlated with the optical response of the thin films, namely their localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) characteristics. Furthermore, and in order to scan the future application of the two thin film system in different types of sensors (namely biological ones), their functional behaviour (hardness and Young's modulus change) was also evaluated. Despite the similar Au concentrations in both matrices (~ 11 at.%), very different microstructural features were observed, which were found to depend strongly on the annealing temperature. The main structural differences included: (i) the early crystallization of the TiO2 host matrix, while the Al2O3 one remained amorphous up to 800 °C; (ii) different grain size evolution behaviours with the annealing temperature, namely an almost linear increase for the Au:TiO2 system (from 3 to 11 nm), and the approximately constant values observed in the Au:Al2O3 system (4–5 nm). The results from the nanoparticle size distributions were also found to be quite sensitive to the surrounding matrix, suggesting different mechanisms for the nanoparticle growth (particle migration and coalescence dominating in TiO2 and Ostwald ripening in Al2O3). These different clustering behaviours induced different transmittance-LSPR responses and a good mechanical stability, which opens the possibility for future use of these nanocomposite thin film systems in some envisaged applications (e.g. LSPR-biosensors).

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 13 August 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 September 2015
Published date: 1 December 2015

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 412414
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/412414
ISSN: 0040-6090
PURE UUID: f916a674-1cd0-4100-9c41-ee0ac9ec0714
ORCID for T. Polcar: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0863-6287

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Date deposited: 17 Jul 2017 13:41
Last modified: 15 Aug 2019 00:37

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Contributors

Author: J. Borges
Author: M.S. Rodrigues
Author: T. Kubart
Author: S. Kumar
Author: K. Leifer
Author: M. Evaristo
Author: A. Cavaleiro
Author: M. Apreutesei
Author: R.M.S. Pereira
Author: M.I. Vasilevskiy
Author: T. Polcar ORCID iD
Author: F. Vaz

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