Surface-enhanced hyper-Raman scattering (SEHRS), the nonlinear analog of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), provides unique spectral signatures arising from the molecular hyperpolarizability. In this work, we explore the differences between SERS and SEHRS spectra obtained from surface-bound uranyl ion. Exploiting the distinctive SEHRS bands for trace detection of the uranyl ion, we obtain excellent sensitivity (limit of detection = 90 ppb) despite the extreme weakness of the hyper-Raman effect. We observe that binding the uranyl ion to the carboxylate group of 4-mercaptobenzoic acid (4-MBA) leads to significant changes in the SEHRS spectrum, whereas the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrum of the same complex is little changed. The SERS and SEHRS spectra are also examined as a function of both substituent position, using 2-MBA, 3-MBA, and 4-MBA, and the carbon chain length, using 4-mercaptophenylacetic acid and 4-mercaptophenylpropionic acid. These results illustrate that the unique features of SEHRS can yield more information than SERS in certain cases and represent the first application of SEHRS for trace analysis of nonresonant molecules.
Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) underpins a wide range of commercial and fundamental applications. SERS often relies on ligands, usually thiols, bound to a noble metal surface. The difficulty of straightforward thiol synthesis combined with their instability on surfaces highlights the need for alternative ligand design. We present the first example of SERS utilizing N-heterocyclic carbene ligands. A general three step synthesis is presented for functionalized NHC-CO2 adducts. These ligands are deposited on SERS-active gold film-over-nanosphere substrates (AuFONs) in solvent-free and base-free conditions, which prevents fouling. The resulting films are found to be robust and capable of postsynthetic modifications.
Facile control of the radiative and nonradiative properties of plasmonic nanostructures is of practical importance to a wide range of applications in the biological, chemical, optical, information, and energy sciences. For example, the ability to easily tune not only the plasmon spectrum but also the degree of coupling to light and/or heat, quality factor, and optical mode volume would aid the performance and function of nanophotonic devices and molecular sensors that rely upon plasmonic elements to confine and manipulate light at nanoscopic dimension. While many routes exist to tune these properties, identifying new approaches---especially when they are simple to apply experimentally---is an important task. Here, we demonstrate the significant and underappreciated effects that substrate thickness and dielectric composition can have upon plasmon hybridization as well as downstream properties that depend upon this hybridization. We find that even substrates as thin as ~10 nm can nontrivially mix free-space plasmon modes, imparting bright character to those that are dark (and vice versa) and, thereby, modifying the plasmonic density of states as well as the system's near- and far-field optical properties. A combination of electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) experiment, numerical simulation, and analytical modeling is used to elucidate this behavior in the finite substrate-induced mixing of dipole, quadrupole, and octupole corner-localized plasmon resonances of individual silver nanocubes.
Electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) performed in a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) has demonstrated unprecedented power in the characterization of surface plasmons. The subangstrom spatial resolution achieved in EELS and its capability of exciting the full set of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) modes supported by a metallic nanostructure makes STEM/EELS an ideal tool in the study of LSPRs. The plasmonic properties characterized using EELS can be associated with geometric or structural features collected simultaneously in a STEM to achieve a deeper understanding of the plasmonic response. In this review, we provide the reader a thorough experimental description of EELS as a LSPR characterization tool and summarize the exciting recent progress in the field of STEM/EELS plasmon characterization.
Due to the facile manipulation and non-invasive nature of light-triggered release, it is one of the most potent ways to selectively and remotely deliver a molecular target. Among the various carrier platforms, plasmonic nanoparticles possess advantages such as enhanced cellular uptake and easy loading of “cargo” molecules. Two general strategies are currently utilized to achieve light-induced molecule release from plasmonic nanoparticles. The first uses femtosecond laser pulses to directly break the bond between the nanoparticle and the loaded target. The other requires significant photo-thermal effects to weaken the interaction between the cargo molecules and nanoparticle-attached host molecules. Different from above mechanisms, herein, we introduce a new light-controlled molecular-release method by taking advantage of a plasmon-driven catalytic reaction at the particle surface. In this strategy, we link the target to a plasmon responsive molecule, 4-aminobenzenethiol (4-ABT), through the robust and simple EDC coupling reaction and subsequently load the complex onto the particles via the strong Au–thiol interaction. Upon continuous-wave (CW) laser illumination, the excited surface plasmon catalyzes the formation of 4,4′-dimercaptoazobenzenethiol (DMAB) and simultaneously releases the loaded molecules with high efficiency. This method does not require the use of high-power pulsed lasers, nor does it rely on photo-thermal effects. We believe that plasmon-driven release strategies open a new direction for the designing of next-generation light-triggered release processes.