Multigram-Scale Production of Hybrid Au-Si Nanomaterial by Laser Ablation in Liquid (LAL) for Temperature-Feedback Optical Nanosensing, Light-to-Heat Conversion, and Anticounterfeit Labeling


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Recent progress in hybrid optical nanomaterials composed of dissimilar constituents permitted an improvement in the performance and functionality of novel devices developed for optoelectronics, catalysis, medical diagnostics, and sensing. However, the rational combination of contrasting materials such as noble metals and semiconductors within individual hybrid nanostructures via a ready-to-use and lithography-free fabrication approach is still a challenge. Here, we report on a two-step synthesis of hybrid Au-Si microspheres generated by laser ablation of silicon in isopropanol followed by laser irradiation of the produced Si nanoparticles in the presence of HAuCl4. Thermal reduction of [AuCl4]− species to a metallic gold phase, along with its subsequent mixing with silicon under laser irradiation, creates a nanostructured material with a unique composition and morphology, as revealed by electron microscopy, tomography, and elemental analysis. A combination of basic plasmonic and nanophotonic materials such as gold and silicon within a single microsphere allows for efficient light-to-heat conversion, as well as single-particle SERS sensing with temperature-feedback modality and expanded functionality. Moreover, the characteristic Raman signal and hot-electron-induced nonlinear photoluminescence coexisting within the novel Au-Si hybrids, as well as the commonly criticized randomness of the nanomaterials prepared by laser ablation in liquid, were proved to be useful for the realization of anticounterfeiting labels based on a physically unclonable function approach.