Light-Directed Tuning of Plasmon Resonances via Plasmon-Induced Polymerization Using Hot Electrons

The precise morphology of nanoscale gaps between noble-metal nanostructures controls their resonant wavelengths. Here we show photocatalytic plasmon-induced polymerization can locally enlarge the gap size and tune the plasmon resonances. We demonstrate light-directed programmable tuning of plasmons can be self-limiting. Selective control of polymer growth around individual plasmonic nanoparticles is achieved, with simultaneous real-time monitoring of the polymerization process in situ using dark-field spectroscopy. Even without initiators present, we show light-triggered chain growth of various monomers, implying plasmon initiation of free radicals via hot-electron transfer to monomers at the Au surface. This concept not only provides a programmable way to fine-tune plasmons for many applications but also provides a window on polymer chemistry at the sub-nanoscale.