R.J. Pelaez, A. Castelo, C.N. Afonso, A. Borras, J.P. Espinos, S. Riedel, P. Leiderer, J. Boneberg
Nanotechnology, 24 (2013) 365702
doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/24/36/365702

Pairs of samples containing Ag nanoparticles (NPs) of different dimensions have been produced under the same conditions but on different substrates, namely standard glass slides and a thin layer of amorphous aluminum oxide (a-Al2O3) on-glass. Upon storage in ambient conditions (air and room temperature) the color of samples changed and a blue-shift and damping of the surface plasmon resonance was observed. The changes are weaker for the samples on-glass and tend to saturate after 12 months. In contrast, the changes for the samples on a-Al2O3 appear to be still progressing after 25 months. While x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy shows a slight sulfurization and negligible oxidation of the Ag for the on-glass samples upon 25 months aging, it shows that Ag is strongly oxidized for the on a-Al2O3 samples and sulfurization is negligible. Both optical and chemical results are consistent with the production of a shell at the expense of a reduction of the metal core dimensions, the latter being responsible for the blue-shift and related to the small (<10 nm initial diameter) of the NPs. The enhanced reactivity of the Ag NPs on the a-Al2O3supports goes along with specific morphological changes of the Ag NPs and the observation of nitrogen.

Enhanced reactivity and related optical changes of Ag nanoparticles on amorphous Al2O3 supports
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