Syntheses of Colloidal F:In2O3 Cubes: Fluorine-Induced Faceting and Infrared Plasmonic Response

Cube-shaped nanocrystals (NCs) of conventional metals like gold and silver generally exhibit localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) in the visible region with spectral modes determined by their faceted shapes. However, faceted NCs exhibiting LSPR response in the infrared (IR) region are relatively rare. Here, we describe the colloidal synthesis of nanoscale fluorine-doped indium oxide (F:In2O3) cubes with LSPR response in the IR region, wherein fluorine was found to both direct the cubic morphology and act as an aliovalent dopant. Single crystalline 160 nm F:In2O3 cubes terminated by (100) facets and concave cubes were synthesized using a colloidal heat-up method. The presence of fluorine was found to impart higher stabilization to the (100) facets through density functional theory (DFT) calculations that evaluated the energetics of F-substitution at surface oxygen sites. These calculations suggest that the cubic morphology results from surface binding of F-atoms. In addition, fluorine acts as an anionic aliovalent dopant in the cubic bixbyite lattice of In2O3, introducing a high concentration of free electrons leading to LSPR. We confirmed the presence of lattice fluorine dopants in these cubes using solid-state 19F and 115In nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The cubes exhibit narrow, shape-dependent multimodal LSPR extinction peaks due to corner- and edge-centered modes. The spatial origin of these different contributions to the spectral response are directly visualized by electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) in a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM).