Holey Au–Ag alloy nanoplates with built-in hotspots for surface-enhanced Raman scattering†
Plasmonic noble metal nanocrystals with interior nanogaps have attracted great attention in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) applications due to the presence of built-in hotspots. Herein, we report a synthesis route to holey Au–Ag alloy nanoplates by controlled galvanic replacement with Ag nanoplates as the sacrificial template, a sulfite-coordinated Au(I) salt as the Au source, and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) as the capping agent. PVP helps regulate the anisotropic growth of nanopores on the Ag nanoplates to afford a highly holey nanostructure, and the monovalent Au(I) salt plays a critical role in stabilizing these holey nanoplates by rapidly enriching Au in the alloy nanostructures. Numerical simulations and experimental results suggest that these holey Au–Ag alloy nanoplates possess enormous internal hotspots for high sensitivity in the SERS analysis, and high stability for excellent reliability of the analysis under many harsh conditions. We believe that this strategy is potentially applicable to the synthesis of many other types of plasmonic nanostructures with inherent nanogaps for many sensing and imaging applications.