Spectral characteristics upon harvesting plasmonic hot electrons at the Ag/ZnO heteromicrostructures
Silver/zinc oxide heterostructures have been adopted to investigate the spectral properties that are of paramount importance to demonstrate the feasibility of band gap engineering upon injection of hot electrons in the ensuing microstructural architectures. Simultaneous hydrolysis of the precursor salts of variable compositions in water/o-xylene binary solvent mixture under alkaline condition provides a rational approach to induce co-organisation into a series of Ag/ZnO microstructures. The generation of hot electrons in plasmonic silver particles upon illumination with light and their subsequent injection into ZnO provide unique opportunities for the manipulation of electromagnetic waves in the metal/semiconductor heterostructures. Metallic colloids of silver have large absorption cross-section and therefore, possess the ability to concentrate electromagnetic radiation in subwavelength dimension and on a femtosecond time scale. Plasmonic excitation of silver nanostructures initiates varieties of photophysical processes, including, non-radiative decay producing non-thermal ‘hot’ carriers that can be injected along the vicinal semiconductor boundary harnessing the absorption loss. It has been revealed that a mere variation in the experimental conditions creates diversity in the morphology that imbues considerable differences in the spectral characteristics of the Ag/ZnO heterostructures. Since numerous metal nanoparticles are incorporated inside the giant semiconductor architecture, the obtained microstructures provide new model systems for the modification of respective theoretical models with many body electron transfer processes.