Gold-Based Nanoparticles and Thin Films : Applications to Green Nanotechnology

Abstract: The use of gold-based nanoparticles and thin films is very promising when it comes to improving several green nanotechnologies. Therefore, in order to further their use in applications such as electrochromic devices, photovoltaics, light-emitting diodes and photocatalysis, the aim of this work was to study the growth of gold-based nanoparticles and thin films.All depositions were made using DC magnetron sputtering, and optical, structural, electrochemical, electrical and photocatalytic studies of the films and particles were performed.The various applications yield a variety of substrate properties, and how these substrate properties affect gold coalescence was studied by depositing gold on glass slides and on SnO2:In, ITO and TiO2 base layers.Temperature also affects the gold coalescence. Therefore, gold was deposited on heated and non-heated substrates, where the latter were also post-heated, with a temperature range between 25ºC and 140ºC in both cases. Various temperatures were also used for manufacturing gold nanoparticles, and their effect as photocatalytic improvers was tested on WO3 films.The optical properties of Au films on glass were determined by ellipsometry in the 0.25 – 2 µm range, and then a spectral density analysis was performed of the effective dielectric permittivity.This work showed that thin gold films are excellent replacements for oxide-based transparent conductors in electrochromic devices. It was also shown that thin homogeneous gold films were better conductors when they were deposited on glass, compared to when they were deposited on oxide base layers, regardless of the optical, electrical and structural properties, or the doping concentration of the base layers.The results also showed that thin gold films were durable at 76ºC, and hence hold for a typical window temperature of ~70ºC. For higher temperatures, gold deposition on heated and non-heated substrates resulted in a distinct difference in growth, and there was also a distinct difference between post-heated gold films produced at 25ºC, compared to when the films were deposited on heated substrates. In the latter case, an island structure was obtained at 140ºC.Spectral density analysis gave spectral densities of similar shape for nanoparticles and continuous gold films, which is useful information for further investigations.