Controlling anisotropic nanoparticle growth through plasmon excitation
Inorganic nanoparticles exhibit size-dependent properties that are of interest for applications ranging from biosensing1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and catalysis6 to optics7 and data storage8. They are readily available in a wide variety of discrete compositions and sizes9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Shape-selective synthesis strategies now also yield shapes other than nanospheres, such as anisotropic metal nanostructures with interesting optical properties15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Here we demonstrate that the previously described photoinduced method23 for converting silver nanospheres into triangular silver nanocrystals—so-called nanoprisms—can be extended to synthesize relatively monodisperse nanoprisms with desired edge lengths in the 30–120 nm range. The particle growth process is controlled using dual-beam illumination of the nanoparticles, and appears to be driven by surface plasmon excitations. We find that, depending on the illumination wavelengths chosen, the plasmon excitations lead either to fusion of nanoprisms in an edge-selective manner or to the growth of the nanoprisms until they reach their light-controlled final size.