Color Changes in Ag Nanoparticle Aggregates Placed in Various Environments: Their Application to Air Monitoring

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2021 Mar 11;11(3):701. doi: 10.3390/nano11030701.


Fresh Ag nanoparticles (NPs) dispersed on a transparent SiO2 exhibit an intense optical extinction band originating in localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) in the visible range. The intensity of the LSPR band weakened when the Ag NPs was stored in ambient air for two weeks. The rate of the weakening and the LSPR wavelength shift, corresponding to visual chromatic changes, strongly depended on the environment in which Ag NPs were set. The origin of a chromatic change was discussed along with both compositional and morphological changes. In one case, bluish coloring followed by a prompt discoloring was observed for Ag NPs placed near the ventilation fan in our laboratory, resulted from adsorption of large amounts of S and Cl on Ag NP surfaces as well as particle coarsening. Such color changes deduce the presence of significant amounts of S and Cl in the environment. In another case, a remarkable blue-shift of the LSPR band was observed for the Ag NPs stored in the desiccator made of stainless steel, originated in the formation of CN and/or HCN compounds and surface roughening. Their color changed from maroon to reddish, suggesting that such molecules were present inside the desiccator.

Keywords: Ag nanoparticle; blue-shift; color; localized surface plasmon resonance; red-shift.