Nanoplasmonic sensing of metal-halide complex formation and the electric double layer capacitor
Journal article, 2012
Many nanotechnological devices are based on implementing electrochemistry with plasmonic nanostructures, but these systems are challenging to understand. We present a detailed study of the influence of electrochemical potentials on plasmon resonances, in the absence of surface coatings and redox active molecules, by synchronized voltammetry and spectroscopy. The experiments are performed on gold nanodisks and nanohole arrays in thin gold films, which are fabricated by improved methods. New insights are provided by high resolution spectroscopy and variable scan rates. Furthermore, we introduce new analytical models in order to understand the spectral changes quantitatively. In contrast to most previous literature, we find that the plasmonic signal is caused almost entirely by the formation of ionic complexes on the metal surface, most likely gold chloride in this study. The refractometric sensing effect from the ions in the electric double layer can be fully neglected, and the charging of the metal gives a surprisingly small effect for these systems. Our conclusions are consistent for both localized nanoparticle plasmons and propagating surface plasmons. We consider the results in this work especially important in the context of combined electrochemical and optical sensors.