Single-Particle Spectroscopy Reveals Heterogeneity in Electrochemical Tuning of the Localized Surface Plasmon
Byers, Chad P.
Hoener, Benjamin S.
Landes, Christy F.
A hyperspectral imaging method was developed that allowed the identification of heterogeneous plasmon response from 50 nm diameter gold colloidal particles on a conducting substrate in a transparent three-electrode spectroelectrochemical cell under non-Faradaic conditions. At cathodic potentials, we identified three distinct behaviors from different nanoparticles within the same sample: irreversible chemical reactions, reversible chemical reactions, and reversible charge density tuning. The irreversible reactions in particular would be difficult to discern in alternate methodologies. Additional heterogeneity was observed when single nanoparticles demonstrating reversible charge density tuning in the cathodic regime were measured dynamically in anodic potential ranges. Some nanoparticles that showed charge density tuning in the cathodic range also showed signs of an additional chemical tuning mechanism in the anodic range. The expected changes in nanoparticle free-electron density were modeled using a charge density-modified Drude dielectric function and Mie theory, a commonly used model in colloidal spectroelectrochemistry. Inconsistencies between experimental results and predictions of this common physical model were identified and highlighted. The broad range of responses on even a simple sample highlights the rich experimental and theoretical playgrounds that hyperspectral single-particle electrochemistry opens.