Plasmonic gold nanostructures: optical properties and application in mercury detection

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Schopf, Carola
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University College Cork
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This thesis investigates the application of plasmonic gold nanostructures for mercury detection. Various gold and silver single nanostructures and gold nanostructure assemblies were characterised in detail by correlated single nanostructure spectroscopy and electron microscopy. Several routes for mercury detection were explored: plasmon resonance energy transfer (PRET) upon Hg2+ binding to immobilised gold nanoparticle-organic ligand hybrid structures and amalgamation of single immobilised gold nanorods upon chemical and upon electrochemical reduction of Hg2+ ions. The amalgamation approach showed large potential with extraordinary shifts of the nanorods’ scattering spectra upon exposure to reduced mercury; a result of compositional and morphological change induced in the nanorod by amalgamation with mercury. A shift of 5 nm could be recorded for a concentration as low 10 nM Hg2+. Through detailed time-dependent experiments insights into the amalgamation mechanism were gained and a model comprising 5 steps was developed. Finally, spectroelectrochemistry proved to be an excellent way to study in real time in-situ the amalgamation of mercury with gold nanorods paving the way for future work in this field.
Gold nanorods , Plasmonics , Mercury detection , Dark field spectroscopy , Spectroelectrochemistry
Schopf, C. 2015. Plasmonic gold nanostructures: optical properties and application in mercury detection. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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