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Creation and luminescence of size-selected gold nanorods

Chen, Yu and Zhang, Yinan and Birch, David and Barnard, Amanda S. (2012) Creation and luminescence of size-selected gold nanorods. Nanoscale, 4 (16). pp. 5017-5022. ISSN 2040-3364

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Fluorescent metal nanoparticles have attracted great interest in recent years for their unique properties and potential applications. Their optical behaviour depends not only on size but also on shape, and will only be useful if the morphology is stable. In this work, we produce stable size-selected gold nanorods (aspect ratio 1-2) using a size-selected cluster source and correlate their luminescence behaviour with the particle shape. Thermodynamic modelling is used to predict the preferred aspect ratio of 1.5, in agreement with the observations, and confirms that the double-icosahedron observed in experiments is significantly lower in energy than the alternatives. Using these samples a fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy study observed two photon luminescence from nanoparticle arrays and a fast decay process (<100 ps luminescence lifetime), which are similar to those found from ligand stabilized gold nanorods under the same measurement conditions, indicating that a surface plasmon enhanced two-photon excitation process is still active at these small sizes. By further reducing the nanoparticle size, this approach has the potential to investigate size-dependent luminescence behaviour at smaller sizes than has been possible before.