Ultrafast electron relaxation dynamics in coupled metal nanoparticles in aggregates

Prashant K. Jain, Wei Qian, Mostafa A. El-Sayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the effect of aggregation in gold nanoparticles on their ultrafast electron - phonon relaxation dynamics measured by femtosecond transient absorption pump - probe spectroscopy. UV - visible extinction and transient absorption of the solution-stable aggregates of gold nanoparticles show a broad absorption in the 550-700-nm region in addition to the isolated gold nanoparticle plasmon resonance. This broad red-shifted absorption can be attributed to contributions from gold nanoparticle aggregates with different sizes and/or different fractal structures. The electron - phonon relaxation, reflected as a fast decay component of the transient bleach, is found to depend on the probe wavelength, suggesting that each wavelength interrogates one particular subset of the aggregates. As the probe wavelength is changed from 520 to 635 nm across the broad aggregate absorption, the rate of electron - phonon relaxation increases. The observed trend in the hot electron lifetimes can be explained on the basis of an increased overlap of the electron oscillation frequency with the phonon spectrum and enhanced interfacial electron scattering, with increasing extent of aggregation. The experimental results strongly suggest the presence of intercolloid electronic coupling within the nanoparticle aggregates, besides the well-known dipolar plasmon coupling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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