Evolution of the surface plasmon resonance of Au:TiO2 nanocomposite thin films with annealing temperature

  • J. BorgesEmail author
  • M. Buljan
  • J. Sancho-Parramon
  • I. Bogdanovic-Radovic
  • Z. Siketic
  • T. Scherer
  • C. Kübel
  • S. Bernstorff
  • A. Cavaleiro
  • F. Vaz
  • A. G. Rolo
Research Paper


This paper reports on the changes in the structural and morphological features occurring in a particular type of nanocomposite thin-film system, composed of Au nanoparticles (NPs) dispersed in a host TiO2 dielectric matrix. The structural and morphological changes, promoted by in-vacuum annealing experiments of the as-deposited thin films at different temperatures (ranging from 200 to 800 °C), resulted in a well-known localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) phenomenon, which gave rise to a set of different optical responses that can be tailored for a wide number of applications, including those for optical-based sensors. The results show that the annealing experiments enabled a gradual increase of the mean grain size of the Au NPs (from 2 to 23 nm), and changes in their distributions and separations within the dielectric matrix. For higher annealing temperatures of the as-deposited films, a broad size distribution of Au NPs was found (sizes up to 100 nm). The structural conditions necessary to produce LSPR activity were found to occur for annealing experiments above 300 °C, which corresponded to the crystallization of the gold NPs, with an average size strongly dependent on the annealing temperature itself. The main factor for the promotion of LSPR was the growth of gold NPs and their redistribution throughout the host matrix. On the other hand, the host matrix started to crystallize at an annealing temperature of about 500 °C, which is an important parameter to explain the shift of the LSPR peak position to longer wavelengths, i.e. a red-shift.


Thin films Au nanoparticles TiO2 matrix Nanocomposites Localized surface plasmon resonance Dielectric function 



This study is sponsored by the FEDER funds through the program: COMPETE—Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade—and by the national funds through the FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia-, under the projects: PEst-C/FIS/UI607/2013, PEst-C/CTM/LA0025/2013 and PEst-C/EME/UI0285/2013. The authors would like also to thank the support by (i) Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF), a Helmholtz Research Infrastructure at KIT; (ii) ELETTRA Synchrotron Radiation Center for the measurements at the SAXS beamline; (iii) European COST Actions MP0901-NanoTP; and (iv) The European Community as an Integrating Activity ‘Support of Public and Industrial Research Using Ion Beam Technology (SPIRIT project)’ under EC contract no. 227012. M. B. acknowledges support from the Croatian Ministry of Science, Higher Education and Sport, (project number 098-0982886-2895). The authors would like to thank Minh Ngoc Tran, Marc Torrell Faro and Ana Vera Machado for the samples’ preparations; M. R. Correia (Department of Physics) and I3N group from Aveiro University for allowing the use of Raman spectrometer; Professor David J. Barber (University of Essex) and Engineer José António Santos (UM) for their helpful discussions and critical reading of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Borges
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • M. Buljan
    • 4
  • J. Sancho-Parramon
    • 4
    • 5
  • I. Bogdanovic-Radovic
    • 4
  • Z. Siketic
    • 4
  • T. Scherer
    • 6
  • C. Kübel
    • 6
  • S. Bernstorff
    • 7
  • A. Cavaleiro
    • 2
  • F. Vaz
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. G. Rolo
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro/Departamento de FísicaUniversidade do MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.SEG-CEMUC, Mechanical Engineering DepartmentUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Instituto Pedro Nunes, Laboratório de EnsaiosDesgaste e MateriaisCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Rudjer Boskovic InstituteZagrebCroatia
  5. 5.Departament de Física Aplicada i ÒpticaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) and Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF)Eggenstein-LeopoldshafenGermany
  7. 7.Elettra-Sincrotrone TriesteBasovizzaItaly

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