Plasmonic structures are attractive due to their optical properties in the near-field and far-field. In the near-field, the enhanced field they generated strongly interacts with materials in proximity to the surface and even produces the quantum hybrid states in the strong coupling regime. In the far-field, the larger scattering cross section of plasmonic particles provides better contrast for tissue imaging. In addition, the strong absorption can generate substantial amount of heat for cancer cell elimination. These optical properties are usually engineered through tuning the size and morphology of individual nanoparticles by various chemical synthesis methods. The alternative way is to use coupled structure based on existing particles. The molecule-linked structure is a common way for 3D plasmonic materials.
However, to produce a stable coupled structure in the solution phase is challenging. The formation of linkage between linker molecules is usually time-consuming and at low efficiency. Increasing the concentration of linker molecules may raise the reaction speed but also result in the random aggregation of particles. In this work, a polyelectrolyte coating is used to connect spherical nanoparticles of different sizes to form core-satellite assemblies (CSA). The coupled core-satellite structure is formed almost immediately after the solutions of two particles are mixed. The output efficiency is nearly 100%. The CSA is robust under the additional silica shell coating and strong laser illumination. The stability of this CSA is confirmed by the Raman spectra and this assembly can potentially be used as Raman tags.
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