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Polymers 2017, 9(10), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym9100507

Spontaneous Formation of Fractal Aggregates of Au Nanoparticles in Epoxy-Siloxane Films and Their Application as Substrates for NIR Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4M1, Canada
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Received: 4 July 2017 / Revised: 18 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photo-Responsive Polymers)
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Abstract

We present a facile, inexpensive route to free-standing, thermo-mechanically robust and flexible epoxy-siloxane substrates embedded with fractal aggregates of Au nanoparticles, and demonstrate their efficiency as substrates for surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) at NIR wavelengths. The metallodielectric films are prepared by generating Au nanoparticles through the in-situ reduction of gold (III) chloride trihydrate in epoxypropoxypropyl terminated polydimethyl siloxane (EDMS). The metal nanoparticles spontaneously aggregate into fractal structures in the colloid, which could then be drop-cast onto a substrate. Subsequent UV-initiated cationic polymerization of epoxide moieties in EDMS transforms the fluid colloid into a thin, free-standing film, which contains a dense distribution of fractal aggregates of Au nanoparticles. We used electron and optical microscopy as well as UV–Vis–NIR spectrometry to monitor the evolution of nanoparticles and to optically and structurally characterize the resulting films. Raman spectroscopy of the chromophore Eosin Y adsorbed onto the metallodielectric films showed that they are excellent SERS substrates at NIR excitation with an enhancement factor of ~9.3 × 103. View Full-Text
Keywords: Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS); metallodielectric films; fractals; Au nanoparticles; NIR Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS); metallodielectric films; fractals; Au nanoparticles; NIR
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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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Basker, D.K.; Saravanamuttu, K. Spontaneous Formation of Fractal Aggregates of Au Nanoparticles in Epoxy-Siloxane Films and Their Application as Substrates for NIR Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. Polymers 2017, 9, 507.

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