Engineering Gold Nanorod-Based Plasmonic Nanocrystals for Optical Applications

  • Jianfeng Huang

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Plasmonic nanocrystals have a unique ability to support localized surface plasmon resonances and exhibit rich and intriguing optical properties. Engineering plasmonic nanocrystals can maximize their potentials for specific applications. In this dissertation, we developed three unprecedented Au nanorod-based plasmonic nanocrystals through rational design of the crystal shape and/or composition, and successfully demonstrated their applications in light condensation, photothermal conversion, and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). The “Au nanorod-Au nanosphere dimer” nanocrystal was synthesized via the ligand-induced asymmetric growth of a Au nanosphere on a Au nanorod. This dimeric nanostructure features an extraordinary broadband optical absorption in the range of 400‒1400nm, and it proved to be an ideal black-body material for light condensation and an efficient solar-light harvester for photothermal conversion. The “Au nanorod (core) @ AuAg alloy (shell)” nanocrystal was built through the epitaxial growth of homogeneously alloyed AuAg shells on Au nanorods by precisely controlled synthesis. The resulting core-shell structured, bimetallic nanorods integrate the merits of the AuAg alloy with the advantages of anisotropic nanorods, exhibiting strong, stable and tunable surface plasmon resonances that are essential for SERS applications in a corrosive environment. The “high-index faceted Au nanorod (core) @ AuPd alloy (shell)” nanocrystal was produced via site-specific epitaxial growth of AuPd alloyed horns at the ends of Au nanorods. The AuPd alloyed horns are bound with high-index side facets, while the Au nanorod concentrates an intensive electric field at each end. This unique configuration unites highly active catalytic sites with strong SERS sites into a single entity and was demonstrated to be ideal for in situ monitoring of Pd-catalyzed reactions by SERS. The synthetic strategies developed here are promising towards the fabrication of novel plasmonic nanocrystals with fascinating properties for nanoplasmonics and nanophotonics.
Date of AwardSep 2015
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorYu Han (Supervisor)


  • gold nanorods
  • plasmonic nanocrystals
  • surface plasmon
  • Surface enhanced raman scattering (SERS)
  • black body
  • Catalysis

Cite this