Silver Coated Platinum Core-Shell Nanostructures on Etched Si Nanowires: Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) Processing and Application in SERS

in: ChemPhysChem (2010)
Sivakov, Vladimir; Höflich, Katja; Becker, Michael; Berger, Andreas; Elers, Kai-Erik; Pore, Viljami; Ritala, Mikko; Christiansen, Silke; Stelzner, Thomas
A new method to prepare plasmonically active noble metal nanostructures on large surface area silicon nanowires (SiNWs) mediated by atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology has successfully been demonstrated for applications of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-based sensing. As host material for the plasmonically active nanostructures we use dense single-crystalline SiNWs with diameters of less than 100 nm as obtained by a wet chemical etching method based on silver nitrate and hydrofluoric acid solutions. The SERS active metal nanoparticles/islands are made from silver (Ag) shells as deposited by autometallography on the core nanoislands made from platinum (Pt) that can easily be deposited by ALD in the form of nanoislands covering the SiNW surfaces in a controlled way. The density of the plasmonically inactive Pt islands as well as the thickness of noble metal Ag shell are two key factors determining the magnitude of the SERS signal enhancement and sensitivity of detection. The optimized Ag coated Pt islands on SiNWs exhibit great potential for ultrasensitive molecular sensing in terms of high SERS signal enhancement ability, good stability and reproducibility. The plasmonic activity of the coreshell Pt//Ag system that will be experimentally realized in this paper as an example was demonstrated in numerical finite element simulations as well as experimentally in Raman measurements of SERS activity of a highly diluted model dye molecule. The morphology and structure of the core-shell Pt//Ag nanoparticles on SiNW surfaces were investigated by scanning- and transmission electron microscopy. Optimized core–shell nanoparticle geometries for maximum Raman signal enhancement is discussed essentially based on the finite element modeling.

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