Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Ultra-thin silica shells (UTSS) are an effective way to improve the stability and compatibility of metallic nanoparticles without significantly attenuating their intrinsic optical properties. This is of particular importance to plasmonic particles used in sensing or surface related studies such as localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) or surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). For silver nanoparticles an UTSS can both hinder oxidation of the Ag in both air and water as well as establish a scaffold for functionalization through well-established silane chemistry. UTSS on metallic nanoparticles such as gold or silver generally involve first using a silane coupling agent to render the surface vitreophilic followed by precipitation of silica by the Stober method or addition of sodium silicate species. Here we present a method to obtain silver nanoparticles with a silica shell of a thickness between 1-20 nm on silver nanoparticles ranging in size from 20-300 nm. This silica shell greatly improves the particle stability allowing for further concentration of the particles in water up to solutions containing 50% Ag by weight. In addition we demonstrated the ability of these particles to be easily integrated into substrates for both SERS and LSPR applications.