Porous MgF2-over-gold nanoparticles (MON) as plasmonic substrate for analytical applications
Porous MgF2-over-nanoparticles (MON) surfaces are fabricated from immobilized gold nanoparticles of different sizes on a glass surface by coating them with a magnesium fluoride layer. High mechanical stability of the resulting plasmonic surface is obtained, and optical spectroscopy across a very wide optical window is enabled. The nanoscopic characterization by scanning force microscopy and electron microscopy shows a uniform assembly of the gold nanoparticles in monolayers and a complete coating by magnesium fluoride. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) experiments provide evidence that organic analyte molecules have free access to the gold surface, and interact with the immobilized nanoparticles in a very similar fashion as with uncoated surfaces. As the spectroscopic results indicate, the coating leads to properties that are favourable for plasmonic enhancement of optical processes excited in the visible and near-infrared. As demonstrated by experiments using SERS, as well as by finite difference time domain (3D-FDTD) simulations, enhancement factors are obtained that allow for analytical applications with optical excitations ranging from the visible to the near infrared.