Rifat Kamarudheen;Gayatri Kumari;Andrea Baldi
Most syntheses of advanced materials require accurate control of the operating temperature. Plasmon resonances in metal nanoparticles generate nanoscale temperature gradients at their surface that can be exploited to control the growth of functional nanomaterials, including bimetallic and core@shell particles. However, in typical ensemble plasmonic experiments these local gradients vanish due to collective heating effects. Here, we demonstrate how localized plasmonic photothermal effects can generate spatially confined nanoreactors by activating, controlling, and spectroscopically following the growth of individual metal@semiconductor core@shell nanoparticles. By tailoring the illumination geometry and the surrounding chemical environment, we demonstrate the conformal growth of semiconducting shells of CeO2, ZnO, and ZnS, around plasmonic nanoparticles of different morphologies. The shell growth rate scales with the nanoparticle temperature and the process is followed in situ via the inelastic light scattering of the growing nanoparticle. Plasmonic control of chemical reactions can lead to the synthesis of functional nanomaterials otherwise inaccessible with classical colloidal methods, with potential applications in nanolithography, catalysis, energy conversion, and photonic devices.