The versatile colour gamut of coatings of plasmonic metal nanoparticles
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We have investigated the colour gamut of coatings produced by the growth of plasmonically-active coatings of cap-shaped Au or Ag nanoparticles on a transparent substrate. The control of colour and spectral selectivity that can be obtained by the manipulation of the rates of nucleation and growth were explored using a combination of experiment and calculation. In our experimental work the Au nanoparticles were grown in situ using a wet chemical electroless plating technique while the Ag nanoparticles were produced by physical vapour deposition. The optical properties were numerically simulated using the discrete dipole approximation. The resulting measured or calculated transmission spectra were mapped to the CIE L-a*-b* colour space. The aspect ratio of the nanoparticles was the primary factor in determining the colours in both cases. However, increasing the nucleation rate of the particles resulted in them becoming more closely packed, which also red-shifted the optical extinction peak of the structure due to interactions of their near-fields. This caused an enhancement in the blue component of the transmitted light. Coatings of Ag particles had a significantly wider and brighter colour gamut than those of Au. © 2009 the Owner Societies.
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