Optical Characterization and Evaluation of Dye-Nanoparticle Interactions

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Virginia Tech

Surface plasmon resonance has become a widely investigated phenomenon in the past few years. Initially descriptive of light interactions with metallic films, research has branched out to encompass the nanoparticles as well. Generation of the maximum surface plasmon resonance for nanostructures is based on the resonance condition that the oscillatory behavior of the 'free' electrons on the surface of the particle become equivalent to the frequency of the excitation light; for films this required a specific geometry.

Metallic nanoparticles have also interested researchers because of their unique optical properties. Depending on the metal, observations of quenching as well as fluorescence enhancement have been reported. Based on the phenomenon of surface plasmon resonance as well as the properties of metallic nanoparticles, this research reports the interaction of gold and silver nanoparticles in an aqueous dye solution. Our research is the basis for developing an optical sensor used for water treatment centers as an alarm mechanism. Due to the inefficiency of the fluorophore used in similar optodes, sufficient fluorescence was not obtained. With the addition of the nanoparticles, we hoped to observe the transfer of energy from the nanoparticle to the fluorophore to increase the overall intensity, thereby creating a sufficient signal.

Using the excitation theories discovered by Raman, Mie, and Forster and Dexter as our foundation, we mixed a strongly fluorescent dye with gold nanoparticles and aagain with silver nanoparticles. After taken measurements via fluorescence spectroscopy, absorption spectroscopy, and photoluminescence excitation, we observed that the silver nanoparticles seemed to enhance the fluorescence of the dye while the gold nanoparticles quenched the fluorescence.

nanoparticle, surface plasmon resonance, resonance energy transfer, Mie theory