Rational Design of Gold Nanostars with Tailorable Plasmonic Properties

<div>Gold nanostars display exceptional field enhancement properties and tunable resonant modes that can be leveraged to create effective imaging tags or phototherapeutic agents, or to design novel hot-electron based photocatalysts. From a fundamental standpoint, they represent important tunable platforms to study the dependence of hot carrier energy and dynamics on plasmon band intensity and position. Toward the realization of these platforms, holistic approaches taking into account both theory and experiments to study the fundamental behavior of these</div><div>particles are needed. Arguably, the intrinsic difficulties underlying this goal stem from the inability to rationally design and effectively synthesize nanoparticles that are sufficiently monodispersed to be employed for corroborations of the theoretical results without the need of single particle experiments. Herein, we report on our concerted computational and experimental effort to design, synthesize, and explain the origin and morphology-dependence of the plasmon modes of a novel gold nanostar system, with an approach that builds upon the well-known plasmon hybridization model. We have synthesized monodispersed samples of gold nanostars with finely tunable morphology employing seed-mediated colloidal protocols, and experimentally observed narrow and spectrally resolved harmonics of the primary surface plasmon resonance mode both at the single particle level (via electron energy loss spectroscopy) and in ensemble (by UV-Vis and ATR-FTIR spectroscopies). Computational results on complex anisotropic gold nanostructures are validated experimentally on samples prepared colloidally, underscoring their importance as ideal testbeds for the study of structure-property relationships in colloidal nanostructures of high structural complexity.</div>