Sub-monolayers of monodisperse Au colloids with different surface coverage have been embedded in between two different metal oxide thin films, combining sol-gel depositions and proper substrates functionalization processes. The synthetized films were TiO2
, ZnO, and NiO. X-ray diffraction shows the crystallinity of all the oxides and verifies the nominal surface coverage of Au colloids. The surface plasmon resonance (SPR) of the metal nanoparticles is affected by both bottom and top oxides: in fact, the SPR peak of Au that is sandwiched between two different oxides is centered between the SPR frequencies of Au sub-monolayers covered with only one oxide, suggesting that Au colloids effectively lay in between the two oxide layers. The desired organization of Au nanoparticles and the morphological structure of the prepared multi-layered structures has been confirmed by Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS), Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analyses that show a high quality sandwich structure. The multi-layered structures have been also tested as optical gas sensors.
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