Plasmonics and SERS

Plasmonic materials, which typically are gold or silver nanostructured materials, interact strongly with light, and are capable of concentrating electromagnetic fields into “hot-spot” regions. It is thought that these materials could be used to create photovoltaic or photocatalytic devices, but it is not well understood how molecules react near these plasmonic materials. We will follow the structure of molecules near plasmonic hot-spots as they undergo chemical reactions, with the goal of determining how plasmons change the rate and yield of chemical reactions. We will then use that information to rationally design highly efficient plasmonically-enhanced devices. Our spectroscopic signals will be strongly enhanced by the plasmonic materials, providing us with the ability follow one single molecule as it undergoes a chemical reaction.