Plasmonic nanoconstructs are widely exploited to confine light for applications ranging from quantum emitters to medical imaging and biosensing. However, accessing extreme near-field confinement using the surfaces of metallic nanoparticles often induces permanent structural changes from light, even at low intensities. Here, we report a robust and simple technique to exploit crystal facets and their atomic boundaries to prevent the hopping of atoms along and between facet planes. Avoiding X-ray or electron microscopy techniques that perturb these atomic restructurings, we use elastic and inelastic light scattering to resolve the influence of crystal habit. A clear increase in stability is found for {100} facets with steep inter-facet angles, compared to multiple atomic steps and shallow facet curvature on spherical nanoparticles. Avoiding atomic hopping allows Raman scattering on molecules with low Raman cross-section while circumventing effects of charging and adatom binding, even over long measurement times. These nanoconstructs allow the optical probing of dynamic reconstruction in nanoscale surface science, photocatalysis, and molecular electronics.

General Engineering, General Physics and Astronomy, General Materials Science
ACS Nano
Nanoscale Solar Cells

Xomalis, A, Chikkaraddy, R, Oksenberg, E, Shlesinger, I, Huang, J, Garnett, E.C, … Baumberg, J.J. (2020). Controlling Optically Driven Atomic Migration Using Crystal-Facet Control in Plasmonic Nanocavities. ACS Nano, 14(8), 10562–10568. doi:10.1021/acsnano.0c04600