Gold nanorods are well-known surface-enhanced Raman scattering substrates. Under longitudinal plasmonic excitation, the ends of the nanorods experience larger local electric fields compared to the sides of the rods, suggesting that Raman-active molecules would be best detected if the molecules could preferentially bind to the ends of the nanorods. Coating the tips of gold nanorods with anionic mesoporous silica caps enabled surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) detection of the cationic dye methylene blue at lower concentrations than observed for the corresponding silica coating of the entire rod. By analyzing the intensity ratio of two Raman active modes of methylene blue and the surface plasmon resonance peak shift of the gold nanorod composites, it can be inferred that at a low concentration of methylene blue, molecules adsorb to the tips of the tip coated silica gold nanorods. Functionalization of the anionic silica endcaps with cationic groups eliminates the SERS enhancement for the cationic methylene blue, demonstrating the electrostatic nature of the adsorption process in this case. These results show that anisotropic silica coatings can concentrate analytes at the tips of gold nanorods for improvements in chemical sensing and diagnostics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)