Changes in morphology, surface reactivity and surface-enhancement of Raman scattering induced by modification of borate-stabilized Ag nanoparticles by adsorbed chlorides have been explored using TEM, EDX analysis and SERS spectra of probing adsorbate 2,2′-bipyridine (bpy) excited at 514.5 nm and evaluated by factor analysis. At fractional coverages of the parent Ag nanoparticles by adsorbed chlorides <0.6, the Ag colloid/Cl−/bpy systems were found to be constituted by fractal aggregates of Ag nanoparticles fairly uniform in size (10 ± 2 nm) and SERS spectra of Ag+-bpy surface species were detected. The latter result was interpreted in terms of the presence of oxidized Ag+ and/or Agn+ adsorption sites, which have been encountered also in systems with the chemically untreated Ag nanoparticles. At chloride coverages >0.6, a fusion of fractal aggregates into the compact aggregates of touching and/or interpenetrating Ag nanoparticles has been observed and found to be accompanied by the formation of another surface species, Ag-bpy, as well as by the increase of the overall SERS enhancement of bpy by factor of 40. The same Ag-bpy surface species has been detected under the strongly reducing conditions of reduction of silver nitrate by sodium borohydride in the presence of bpy. The formation of Ag-bpy is thus interpreted in terms of the stabilization of reduced Ag(0) adsorption sites by adsorbed bpy. The formation of reduced adsorption sites on Ag nanoparticle surfaces at chloride coverages >0.6 is discussed in terms of local changes in the work function of Ag. Finally, the SERS spectral detection of Ag-bpy species is proposed as a tool for probing the presence of reduced Ag(0) adsorption sites in systems with chemically modified Ag nanoparticles.
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