Journal article Open Access

Morphology and Microstructure Evolution of Gold Nanostructures in the Limited Volume Porous Matrices

Dzmitry V. Yakimchuk; Victoria D. Bundyukova; Jon Ustarroz; Herman Terryn; Kitty Baert; Artem L. Kozlovskiy; Maxim V. Zdorovets; Soslan A. Khubezhov; Alex V. Trukhanov; Sergei V. Trukhanov; Larissa V. Panina; Grigory M. Arzumanyan; Kahramon Z. Mamatkulov; Daria I. Tishkevich; Egor Y. Kaniukov; Vladimir Sivakov

The modern development of nanotechnology requires the discovery of simple approaches that ensure the controlled formation of functional nanostructures with a predetermined morphology. One of the simplest approaches is the self-assembly of nanostructures. The widespread implementation of self-assembly is limited by the complexity of controlled processes in a large volume where, due to the temperature, ion concentration, and other thermodynamics factors, local changes in diffusion-limited processes may occur, leading to unexpected nanostructure growth. The easiest ways to control the diffusion-limited processes are spatial limitation and localized growth of nanostructures in a porous matrix. In this paper, we propose to apply the method of controlled self-assembly of gold nanostructures in a limited pore volume of a silicon oxide matrix with submicron pore sizes. A detailed study of achieved gold nanostructures’ morphology, microstructure, and surface composition at different formation stages is carried out to understand the peculiarities of realized nanostructures. Based on the obtained results, a mechanism for the growth of gold nanostructures in a limited volume, which can be used for the controlled formation of nanostructures with a predetermined geometry and composition, has been proposed. The results observed in the present study can be useful for the design of plasmonic-active surfaces for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy-based detection of ultra-low concentration of different chemical or biological analytes, where the size of the localized gold nanostructures is comparable with the spot area of the focused laser beam.

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