Hot electron dynamics and impurity scattering on gold nanoshell surfaces
Wolfgang, John A.
Nordlander, Peter J.
Doctor of Philosophy
Recent ultrafast pump-probe experiments studying the relaxation rate of an optically excited hot electron distribution on Au/Au2S gold nanoshells indicate that this relaxation rate can be modified by the chemical environment surrounding the shell. This work will begin a theoretical investigation of the effect of chemical adsorbates---solvents and impurities---upon nanoshell hot electron dynamics. The effects of water, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), sulfur, p-aminobenzoic acid, p-mercaptobenzoic acid and propylamine adsorbates are examined for their electronic interaction with a noble metal surface. p-Aminobenzoic acid is found to have a very large dipole moment when adsorbed to the metal surface, in contrast to p-mercaptobenzoic acid, propylamine and water. This correlates well to the experimentally observed results where nanoshells dispersed in an aqueous soulution with p-aminobenzoic acid display a faster relaxation rate compared to nanoshells dispersed in a pure water, aqueous propylamine or aqueous p-mercaptobenzoic acid environments. This thesis will also introduce a non-equilibrium Green's function approach, based on the formalism developed by Baym and Kadanoff, to model the dynamics of a hot electron distribution. The model will be discussed in terms of a simple potential scattering mechanism, which may in later work be expanded to include more complex electron-electron and electron-phonon interactions. Lastly acoustic oscillation modes are calculated for solid gold spheres and gold-silicon nanoshells. These modes describe an effect of electron-phonon coupling between the hot electron distribution and the nanoshell lattice, whereby the electronic energy is converted into mechanical energy.
Condensed matter physics