Driving Chemical Reactions in Plasmonic Nanogaps with Electrohydrodynamic Flow

WJ Thrift and CQ Nguyen and M Darvishzadeh-Varcheie and S Zare and N Sharac and RN Sanderson and TJ Dupper and AI Hochbaum and F Capolino and MJA Qomi and R Ragan, ACS NANO, 11, 11317-11329 (2017).

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b05815

Nanoparticles from colloidal solution-with controlled composition, size, and shape-serve as excellent building blocks for plasmonic devices and metasurfaces. However, understanding hierarchical driving forces affecting the geometry of oligomers and interparticle gap spacings is still needed to fabricate high-density architectures over large areas. Here, electrohydrodynamic (EHD) flow is used as a long-range driving force to enable carbodiimide cross-linking between nanospheres and produces oligomers exhibiting sub-nanometer gap spacing over mm(2) areas. Anhydride linkers between nanospheres are observed via surface- enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy. The anhydride linkers are cleavable via nucleophilic substitution and enable placement of nucleophilic molecules in electromagnetic hotspots. Atomistic simulations elucidate that the transient attractive force provided by EHD flow is needed to provide a sufficient residence time for anhydride cross-linking to overcome slow reaction kinetics. This synergistic analysis shows assembly involves an interplay between long-range driving forces increasing nanoparticle-nanoparticle interactions and probability that ligands are in proximity to overcome activation energy barriers associated with short-range chemical reactions. Absorption spectroscopy and electromagnetic full-wave simulations show that variations in nanogap spacing have a greater influence on optical response than variations in close-packed oligomer geometry. The EHD flow-anhydride cross-linking assembly method enables close-packed oligomers with uniform gap spacings that produce uniform SERS enhancement factors. These results demonstrate the efficacy of colloidal driving forces to selectively enable chemical reactions leading to future assembly platforms for large-area nanodevices.

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