Some optical and catalytic properties of metal nanoparticles
Tabor, Christopher Eugene
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The strong electromagnetic field that is induced at the surface of a plasmonic nanoparticle can be utilized for many important applications, including spectroscopic enhancement and electromagnetic waveguides. The focus of this thesis is to study some of the properties of induced plasmonic fields around metal nanoparticles. Current methodologies for fabricating nanoparticles are discussed, including lithography and colloidal synthesis. This dissertation includes studies on plasmonic driven nanoparticle motion of surface supported gold nanoprisms from a substrate into solution via a femtosecond pulse. The mechanism of particle motion is discussed and the stability of the unprotected nanoprisms in solution is studied. Fundamental plasmonic near-field coupling between two plasmonic nanoparticles is also examined. Experimental results using electron beam lithography fabricated samples are used to explicitly describe the plasmonic coupling between dimers as a function of the nanoparticle size, shape, and orientation. These variables are systematically studied and the dependence is compared to mathematically derived functional dependencies in order to model and predict the effects of plasmonic coupling. As an extension, the coupling between plasmonic nanoparticles is shown in a common application, surface enhanced Raman scattering. The final chapter is devoted to an investigation of the nature of nanocatalysis, homogeneous and heterogeneous, for several reactions using metal nanoparticles.