R.J. Pelaez, A. Castelo, C.N. Afonso, A. Borras, J.P. Espinos, S. Riedel, P. Leiderer, J. Boneberg
Nanotechnology, 24 (2013) 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.