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Proceedings Paper

Observing single-molecule chemical reactions on metal nanoparticles
Author(s): Steven R. Emory; W. Patrick Ambrose; Peter M. Goodwin; Richard A. Keller
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Paper Abstract

We report on the study of the photodecomposition of single Rhodamine 6G (R6G) dye molecules adsorbed on silver nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were immobilized and spatially isolated on polylysine-derivatized glass coverslips, and confocal laser microspectroscopy was used to obtain surface-enhanced Raman scatters (SERS) spectra from individual R6G molecules. The photodecomposition of these molecules was observed with 150-ms temporal resolution. The photoproduct was identified as graphitic carbon based on the appearance of bread SERS vibrational bands at 1592 cm-1 and 1340 cm-1 observed in both bulk and averaged single-molecule photoproduct spectra. In contrast, when observed at the single-molecule level, the photoproduct yielded sharp SERS spectra. The inhomogeneous broadening of the bulk SERS spectra is due to a variety of photoproducts in different surface orientations and is a characteristic of ensemble-averaged measurement of disordered systems. These single-molecule studies indicate a photodecomposition pathway by which the R6G molecule desorbs from the metal surface, an excited-state photoreaction occurs, and the R6G photoproduct(s) readsorbs to the surface. A SERS spectrum is obtained when either the intact R6G or the R6G photoproduct(s) are adsorbed on a SERS-active site. This work further illustrates the power of single-molecule spectroscopy (SMS) to reveal unique behaviors of single molecules that are not discernable with bulk measurements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 June 2001
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4258, Nanoparticles and Nanostructured Surfaces: Novel Reporters with Biological Applications, (18 June 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.430762
Show Author Affiliations
Steven R. Emory, Los Alamos National Lab. (United States)
W. Patrick Ambrose, Los Alamos National Lab. (United States)
Peter M. Goodwin, Los Alamos National Lab. (United States)
Richard A. Keller, Los Alamos National Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4258:
Nanoparticles and Nanostructured Surfaces: Novel Reporters with Biological Applications
Catherine J. Murphy, Editor(s)

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