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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
Czech Tech Univ, Fac Elect Engn, Dept Control Engn, Tech 2, CR-16635 Prague 6, Czech Republic..
Univ Minho, Ctr Fis, P-4710057 Braga, Portugal.;Inst Pedro Nunes, Lab Ensaios Desgaste & Mat, P-3030199 Coimbra, Portugal..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Solid State Electronics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Solid State Electronics.
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2015 (English)In: Thin Solid Films, ISSN 0040-6090, E-ISSN 1879-2731, Vol. 596, 8-17 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

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 (similar to 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 degrees 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).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 596, 8-17 p.
Keyword [en]
Gold nanoparticles, Titanium oxide, Aluminium oxide, Nanoparticle size distribution, Localized surface plasmon resonance, Mechanical properties
National Category
Materials Chemistry Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-272140DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2015.08.058ISI: 000366204900003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-272140DiVA: diva2:893107
EU, European Research Council, CZ.1.07/2.3.00/30.0034
Available from: 2016-01-12 Created: 2016-01-12 Last updated: 2016-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Kubart, TomasLeifer, Klaus
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