Formation of Gold Microparticles by Ablation With Surface Plasmons

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2013 Oct 28;3(4):592-605. doi: 10.3390/nano3040592.


The formation of gold microparticles on a silicon substrate through the use of energetic surface plasmons is reported. A laser-assisted plasmonics system was assembled and tested to synthesize gold particles from gold thin film by electrical field enhancement mechanism. A mask containing an array of 200 nm diameter holes with a periodicity of 400 nm was prepared and placed on a silicon substrate. The mask was composed of 60 µm thick porous alumina membrane sputter-coated with 100 nm thin gold film. A Nd:YAG laser with 1064 nm wavelength and 230 µs pulse width (free-running mode) was then passed through the mask at an energy fluence of 0.35 J/cm². The extraordinary transmission of laser light through alumina/gold micro-hole optical antenna created both extended and localized surface plasmons that caused the gold film at the bottom of the mask to fragment into microparticles and deposit on the silicon substrate that is in direct contact with the mask. The surface plasmon method is simpler, quicker, more energy efficient, and environmentally safer than existing physical and chemical methods, as well as being contamination-free, and can be extended to all types of materials that will in turn allow for new possibilities in the formation of structured surfaces.

Keywords: gold; laser; nanoparticles; plasmons; porous alumina membrane.