USTC develops ultrahigh-performance plasmonic metal-oxide materials

January 08, 2021

In a study published in Advanced Materials, the researchers from Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, the University of Science and Technology of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, using an electron-proton co-doping strategy, invented a new metal-like semiconductor material with excellent plasmonic resonance performance. This material achieves a metal-like ultrahigh free-carrier concentration that leads to strong and tunable plasmonic field.

Plasmonic materials are widely used in the fields including microscopy, sensing, optical computing and photovoltaics. Most common plasmonic materials are gold and silver. Some other materials also show metal-like optical properties but just perform poor in limited wavelength ranges.

In recent years, much effort has been made in finding high-performance plasmonic materials excluding noble metals. Metal-oxide semiconductor materials have rich and tunable properties such as light, electricity, heat, and magnetism. Hydrogenation treatment can effectively modify their electronic structure to reach rich and tunable plasmon effects. It is a challenge to significantly increase the intrinsically low concentration of free carriers in metal-oxide materials.

The researchers in this study developed a electron-proton co-doping strategy with theoretical calculations. They hydrogenated the semiconductor material MoO3 via a simplified metal-acid treatment at mild conditions, realizing the controllable insulator-to-metal phase transition, which significantly increase the concentration of free carriers in the metal-oxide material.

The free electron concentration in the hydrogenated MoO3 material is equivalent to that of the precious metal. This property makes the plasmon resonance response of the material moving from the near infrared area to the visible light area. The plasmon resonance response of the material has both strong gain and adjustability.

Using ultrafast spectroscopy characterizations and first-principle simulations, the researchers unraveled the quasi-metallic energy band structure in the hydrogen-doped HxMoO3 with its dynamical features of plasmonic responses.

To verify their modification, they performed the surface-enhanced Raman spectra (SERS) of rhodamine 6G molecules on the material. The result showed that the SERS enhancement factor reached as high as 1.1 × 107 with a detection limit at concentration as low as 1 × 10-9 mol/L.

This study developed a general strategy to increase the concentration of free carriers in a non-metal semiconductor material system, which not only realized a quasi-metallic phase material with strong and tunable plasmon effect at low cost, but also significantly broadened the variable range of the physical and chemical properties of semiconductor materials. It provides a unique idea and guidance for designing novel metal oxide functional materials.
-end-


University of Science and Technology of China

Related Advanced Materials Articles from Brightsurf:

Making new materials using AI
POSTECH Professors Daesu Lee and Si-Young Choi's joint research team demonstrates a novel physical phenomenon by controlling variations of the atomic structure.

Cellulose for manufacturing advanced materials
The last decade has seen an increase in scientific publications and patents on cellulose, the most abundant natural polymer.

Advanced memory from advanced materials
Researchers successfully demonstrated a method to switch a novel material between two different nonvolatile states at very high speeds and with great accuracy.

A robot and software make it easier to create advanced materials
A Rutgers-led team of engineers has developed an automated way to produce polymers, making it much easier to create advanced materials aimed at improving human health.

New advances in the treatment of advanced lung cancer
The University of Barcelona (UB) and Hospital ClĂ­nic de Barcelona collaborate with Boehringer Ingelheim Inc. to improve the efficiency of nintedanib, an antiangiogenic and antifibrotic drug, for the treatment of lung cancer.

How to program materials
Can the properties of composite materials be predicted? Empa scientists have mastered this feat and thus can help achieve research objectives faster.

Emerging trends in advanced nano-materials based electrochemical geno-sensors
Advanced nanomaterials indubitably represent one of the most propitious classes of new materials due to their intriguing optical, electronic and redox properties.

The materials engineers are developing environmentally friendly materials
Recently the research article ''A method for producing conductive graphene biopolymer nanofibrous fabrics by exploitation of an ionic liquid dispersant in electrospinning'' written by the researchers of Tallinn University of Technology was published in a leading peer-reviewed journal Carbon.

Discovery of new superconducting materials using materials informatics
A NIMS-Ehime University joint research team succeeded in discovering new materials that exhibit superconductivity under high pressures using materials informatics (MI) approaches (data science-based material search techniques).

New treatment approach for advanced anal cancer
A new approach to treating advanced anal cancer is safer and more effective than the most widely used current treatment, according to the first ever randomized clinical trial in this group of patients.

Read More: Advanced Materials News and Advanced Materials Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.