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Golden potential for gold thin films
Date:4/27/2012

m films that ranged in thickness between 100 to 200 nanometers. The nanocomposite films featured microdomains in one of two common morphologies - lamellar or cylindrical. For the lamellar microdomains, the nanoparticles formed hexagonally-packed 2-D sheets that were stacked into multiple layers parallel to the surface. For the cylindrical microdomains, the nanoparticles formed 1-D chains (single particle width) that were packed into distorted hexagonal lattices in parallel orientation with the surface.

"Upon incorporation of nanoparticles, the block co-polymer supramolecules experience conformational changes, resulting in entropy that determines the placement and distribution of the nanoparticles, as well as the overall morphology of the nanocomposite thin films," Xu says. "Our results indicate that it should be possible to generate highly-ordered lattices of nanoparticles within block co-polymer microdomains and obtain 3-D hierarchical assemblies of nanoparticles with precise structural control."

The inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles in the 1-D chains and the 2-D sheets was 8 to 10 nanometers, which raises intriguing possibilities with regards to plasmonics, the phenomenon by which a beam of light is confined in ultra-cramped spaces. Plasmonic technology holds great promise for superfast computers and optical microscopy, among other applications. However, a major challenge for developing plasmonics has been the difficulty of fabricating metamaterials with noble metal nanoparticles such as gold.

"Our gold thin films display strong plasmonic coupling along the inter-particle spacing in the 1-D chains and 2-D sheets respectively," Xu says. "We should therefore be able to use these films to investigate unique plasmonic properties for next-generation electronic and photonic devices. Our supramolecular technique might also be used to fabricate plasmonic metamaterials."


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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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