Gallium-based Ultraviolet Nanoplasmonics
Nanometer-scale metallic structures have been widely and intensively studied over the last decade because of their remarkable plasmonic properties that can enhance local electromagnetic (EM) fields. However, most plasmonic applications are restricted to the visible and near infrared photon energies due to the limitations of the surface plasmon resonance energies of the most commonly used plasmonic metals: Au and Ag. Plasmonic applications in ultraviolet (UV) are of great interest because Raman scattering sections are larger and do not overlap fluorescence spectra. UV plasmonics also benefit from high spatial resolution and low penetration depth. However, an appropriate UV plasmonic material must be identified.
We proposed and demonstrated that gallium is a highly-promising and compelling material for UV nanoplasmonics through synthesis of size-controlled nanoparticle arrays, EM modeling of local field enhancement, ellipsometric and spatial characterization of the arrays, and analytical measurement of UV- enhanced Raman and fluorescence spectra. Self-assembled arrays of hemispherical gallium nanoparticles deposited by molecular beam epitaxy on a sapphire support are characterized with spatial and ellipsometric measurements. Spin-casting a thin film of crystal violet upon these nanoparticles permitted the demonstration of surface-enhanced Raman spectra, fluorescence, and molecular photodegradation following excitation by a HeCd laser operating at 325 nm (UV). Measured local Raman enhancement factors exceeding 10<super>7</super> demonstrated the potential of gallium nanoparticle arrays for plasmonically-enhanced ultraviolet detection and remediation.
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