Au/SiO2/QD core/shell/shell nanostructures with plasmonic-enhanced photoluminescence
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A sol–gel method has been developed to fabricate Au/SiO2/quantum dot (QD) core–shell–shell nanostructures with plasmonic-enhanced photoluminescence (PL). Au nanoparticle (NP) was homogeneously coated with a SiO2 shell with adjusted thickness through a Stöber synthesis. When the toluene solution of hydrophobic CdSe/ZnS QDs was mixed with partially hydrolyzed 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane (APS) sol, the ligands on the QDs were replaced by a thin functional SiO2 layer because the amino group in partially hydrolyzed APS has strong binding interaction with the QDs. Partially hydrolyzed APS plays an important role as a thin functional layer for the transfers of QDs to water phase and the subsequent connection to aqueous SiO2-coated Au NPs. Although Au NPs were demonstrated as efficient PL quenchers when the SiO2 shell on the Au NPs is thin (less than 5 nm), we found that precise control of the spacing between the Au NP core and the QD shell resulted in QDs with an enhancement of 30 % of PL efficiency. The Au/SiO2/QD core/shell/shell nanostructures also reveal strong surface plasmon scattering, which makes the Au/SiO/QD core–shell–shell nanostructures an excellent dual-modality imaging probe. This technology can serve as a general route for encapsulating a variety of discrete nanomaterials because monodispersed nanostructures often have a similar surface chemistry.
KeywordsQuantum dot Au Nanoparticle Plasmon Photoluminescence Enhancement Sol–gel method
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