Geldmeier, J.; Johns, P.; Greybush, N.J.; Naciri, J.; Fontana, J.
Physical Review B, Volume 8, 081112
Publication year: 2019

Plasmonic nanoparticles resonantly couple to and confine light below the diffraction limit. This mechanism has enabled a modern renaissance in optical materials, with potential applications ranging from sensing and circuitry to renewable energies and medicines. However, these plasmonic materials are typically constrained to dilute liquids or solid two-dimensional surfaces, thereby limiting their possibilities. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a plasmonic aerosol by transitioning liquid suspensions of gold nanorods into the gas phase and simultaneously measuring their optical spectra. By measuring and modeling the evolution of the longitudinal absorbance peak of the nanorods from the liquid to the gas phase, we find that the aerosols are optically homogeneous and thermodynamically stable. We show that by tailoring the aspect ratio of the nanorods, the aerosol absorbance peak is tunable from visible to midwave infrared wavelengths. We find the sensitivity of the absorbance peak wavelength to changes in the refractive index of the gas depends linearly on the aspect ratio and can be estimated from the geometric and material properties of the nanorod. For high aspect ratio nanorods the sensitivity becomes extremely large, which may be useful in aiding geoengineering challenges. This work establishes plasmonic aerosols, potentially enabling exciting opportunities for fundamental and applied research.

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