Au@Ag core-shell nanocubes with finely tuned and well-controlled sizes, shell thicknesses, and optical properties

Yanyun Ma, Weiyang Li, Eun Chul Cho, Zhiyuan Li, Taekyung Yu, Jie Zeng, Zhaoxiong Xie, Younan Xia
ACS Nano 2010 November 23, 4 (11): 6725-34
This paper describes a facile method for generating Au@Ag core-shell nanocubes with edge lengths controllable in the range of 13.4-50 nm. The synthesis involved the use of single-crystal, spherical Au nanocrystals of 11 nm in size as the seeds in an aqueous system, with ascorbic acid serving as the reductant and cetyltrimethylammonium chloride (CTAC) as the capping agent. The thickness of the Ag shells could be finely tuned from 1.2 to 20 nm by varying the ratio of AgNO(3) precursor to Au seeds. We also investigated the growth mechanism by examining the effects of seeds (capped by CTAC or cetyltrimethylammonium bromide(CTAB)) and capping agent (CTAC vs CTAB) on both size and shape of the resultant core-shell nanocrystals. Our results clearly indicate that CTAC worked much better than CTAB as a capping agent in both the syntheses of Au seeds and Au@Ag core-shell nanocubes. We further studied the localized surface plasmon resonance properties of the Au@Ag nanocubes as a function of the Ag shell thickness. By comparing with the extinction spectra obtained from theoretical calculations, we derived a critical value of ca. 3 nm for the shell thickness at which the plasmon excitation of the Au cores would be completely screened by the Ag shells. Moreover, these Au@Ag core-shell nanocubes could be converted into Au-based hollow nanostructures containing the original Au seeds in the interiors through a galvanic replacement reaction.

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