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Nanomaterials 2016, 6(6), 110; doi:10.3390/nano6060110

Complex-Morphology Metal-Based Nanostructures: Fabrication, Characterization, and Applications

1
Department of Physics and Astronomy-University of Catania, via S. Sofia 64, 95123 Catania, Italy
2
MATIS IMM-CNR, via S. Sofia 64, 95123 Catania, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nimai Mishra
Received: 21 April 2016 / Revised: 18 May 2016 / Accepted: 21 May 2016 / Published: 6 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiconductor Core/Shell Nanocrystals for Optoelectronic Applications)

Abstract

Due to their peculiar qualities, metal-based nanostructures have been extensively used in applications such as catalysis, electronics, photography, and information storage, among others. New applications for metals in areas such as photonics, sensing, imaging, and medicine are also being developed. Significantly, most of these applications require the use of metals in the form of nanostructures with specific controlled properties. The properties of nanoscale metals are determined by a set of physical parameters that include size, shape, composition, and structure. In recent years, many research fields have focused on the synthesis of nanoscale-sized metallic materials with complex shape and composition in order to optimize the optical and electrical response of devices containing metallic nanostructures. The present paper aims to overview the most recent results—in terms of fabrication methodologies, characterization of the physico-chemical properties and applications—of complex-morphology metal-based nanostructures. The paper strongly focuses on the correlation between the complex morphology and the structures’ properties, showing how the morphological complexity (and its nanoscale control) can often give access to a wide range of innovative properties exploitable for innovative functional device production. We begin with an overview of the basic concepts on the correlation between structural and optical parameters of nanoscale metallic materials with complex shape and composition, and the possible solutions offered by nanotechnology in a large range of applications (catalysis, electronics, photonics, sensing). The aim is to assess the state of the art, and then show the innovative contributions that can be proposed in this research field. We subsequently report on innovative, versatile and low-cost synthesis techniques, suitable for providing a good control on the size, surface density, composition and geometry of the metallic nanostructures. The main purpose of this study is the fabrication of functional nanoscale-sized materials, whose properties can be tailored (in a wide range) simply by controlling the structural characteristics. The modulation of the structural parameters is required to tune the plasmonic properties of the nanostructures for applications such as biosensors, opto-electronic or photovoltaic devices and surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates. The structural characterization of the obtained nanoscale materials is employed in order to define how the synthesis parameters affect the structural characteristics of the resulting metallic nanostructures. Then, macroscopic measurements are used to probe their electrical and optical properties. Phenomenological growth models are drafted to explain the processes involved in the growth and evolution of such composite systems. After the synthesis and characterization of the metallic nanostructures, we study the effects of the incorporation of the complex morphologies on the optical and electrical responses of each specific device. View Full-Text
Keywords: Au; Ag; nano-dendrites; peapodded nanowires; nanorices; nanorings; nanoporous Au; optical properties; plasmonics; SERS Au; Ag; nano-dendrites; peapodded nanowires; nanorices; nanorings; nanoporous Au; optical properties; plasmonics; SERS
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gentile, A.; Ruffino, F.; Grimaldi, M.G. Complex-Morphology Metal-Based Nanostructures: Fabrication, Characterization, and Applications. Nanomaterials 2016, 6, 110.

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