Utilizing a combinatorial method, we used spectroscopic ellipsometry to determine the dielectric functions of silver island films over a large range of sizes and morphologies from the percolation threshold down to average particle size smaller than 5 nm. We measured films on silicon substrates with 2 and 20 nm oxide layers and compared the surface-enhanced Raman scattering properties of the films. As expected, the films on 20-nm-thick oxide substrates showed increased Raman counts due to reduced damping of the plasmon resonance; however, the optical absorption was greater in the films on 2 nm oxide. The maximum Raman scattering was observed for average particle diameters of 13.6 and 25 nm and interparticle spacings of 3.3 and 4.1 nm for the 2 and 20 nm oxide substrates, respectively. The use of a combinatorial method resulted in significantly reduced uncertainties by avoiding multiple sample preparations and allowed unambiguous identification of optimal film parameters for the different substrates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas