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Exploitation of plasmonic nanoparticles for optical enhancements in composite materials

By Lucas R. Johnstone


This dissertation explores the optical properties of plasmonic metal nanoparticles and their application in composite materials. Plasmonic metal nanoparticles can be used to concentrate and manipulate light. Due to the oscillations in the conduction electrons these particles exhibit extremely intense electric fields near their surface. Chapter 2 presents a novel method for the nanoscale coating of individual spherical silver nanoparticles with a thin layer of silica shell. The silica shell is used to mitigate the well-known negative quenching effects that occur at the surface of metal nanoparticles, and can be readily functionalized. Chapter 3 the metal nanoparticles are utilized to build a multifunctional SERS substrate with a unique geometry. A simple solution processed layer-by-layer approach was used to immobilize metal nanoparticles (NP) on the surface of ragweed pollen exine. Nanoparticle agglomeration on the pollen gives rise to broadband (400-1064 nm) plasmonic activity, and strong SERS signals from benzenedithiol deposited on NP-pollen composite particles were observed. In addition to SERS activity, the Ag NP coating provides a two-fold increase of the adhesive properties of the RW pollen exine on a silicon substrate. The result is a robust, adhesive, broadband SERS micro-particle sensor, which also exhibit two-photon excited fluorescence. Chapters 4 & 5 document the investigation of plasmonic nanoparticle doping in P3HT:PCBM photovoltaic devices. Current voltage characteristics were measured to determine the effect of plasmonic nanoparticle doping on the power conversion efficiency. Differential scanning calorimetry was used to investigate the effects of nanoparticle doping on the microstructure of the OPV devices. Various functional silanes were used to modify the surface of silica coated silver nanoparticles to determine whether surface functionalization impacts the device morphology.Ph.D

Topics: Plasmonic, OPV, SERS, Nanoparticle
Publisher: Georgia Institute of Technology
Year: 2019
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