Precise control of the size and gap between gold nanocubes by surface-based synthesis for high SERS performance†
The optical properties of a monolayer of nanocomposite film (PMMA/gold nanocubes) were provided by fitting a proposed theoretical model to spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) measurements. For such a thin film, these features cannot be successfully determined by means of experimental and conventional effective medium theory such as Maxwell-Garnett or Bruggeman. To make it possible, we developed a model of two classical Lorentz oscillators; one for a PMMA layer and the other for GNCs, revealing one homogeneous layer and rapid analysis without the need for large computational resources. Additionally, we tailored both the size and number of GNCs in the PMMA layer by tuning the synthesis parameters as seen in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images. In parallel, SE measurements clearly highlighted the change in the optical properties of GNCs as a function of their density on the substrate and dimensions. Our findings demonstrate that SE is an alternative method to characterize layered GNCs on opaque substrates efficiently, which has potential implications for designing other morphologies in the future.