Systematic study of interdependent relationship on gold nanorod synthesis assisted by electron microscopy image analysis†
Here, we systematically investigated the independent, multiple, and synergic effects of three major components, namely, ascorbic acid (AA), seed, and silver ions (Ag+), on the characteristics of gold nanorods (GNRs), i.e., longitudinal localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) peak position, shape, size, and monodispersity. To quantitatively assess the shape and dimensions of GNRs, we used an automated transmission electron microscopy image analysis method using a MATLAB-based code developed in-house and the concept of solidity, which is the ratio between the area of a GNR and the area of its convex hull. The solidity of a straight GNR is close to 1, while it decreases for both dumbbell- and dogbone-shaped GNRs. We found that the LSPR peak position, shape, and monodispersity of the GNRs all altered simultaneously with changes in the amounts of individual components. For example, as the amount of AA increased, both the LSPR peak and solidity decreased, while the polydispersity increased. In contrast, as the amount of seeds increased, both the LSPR and solidity increased, while the monodispersity improved. More importantly, we found that the influence of each component can actually change depending on the composition of the GNR growth solution. For instance, the LSPR peak position red-shifted as the amount of AA increased when the seed content was low, whereas it blue-shifted when the seed content was high.