The European Physical Journal Applied Physics

Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies

Controlled growth of Au nanoparticles in co-evaporated metal/polymer composite films and their optical and electrical properties

H. Takelea1, U. Schürmanna1, H. Grevea1, D. Paretkara1, V. Zaporojtchenkoa1 and F. Faupela1

Lehrstuhl für Materialverbunde, Technische Fakultät der CAU, Kaiserstrasse 2, 24143 Kiel, Germany


Nanocomposite films containing Au nanoparticles embedded in a polymer matrix were prepared by vapour phase co-deposition of Au and polymers (Teflon AF and Poly( $\alpha $ -methylstyrene)) in high vacuum. The microstructure of the composite materials as well as metal content strongly depend on the condensation coefficient of the Au atoms, the deposition rates of the components, the substrate temperature, and the type of polymer matrix. The condensation coefficient, which varies between 0.03 and 1, was determined from energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX) and surface profilometry. It is shown that the microstructure of nanocomposites (size, size distribution, and interparticle separation of metal clusters), which was determined by transmission electron microscopy, can be controlled by the deposition parameters and the choice of polymer matrix. The optical absorption in the visible region due to the particle plasmon resonance has a strong dependence on the metal filling factor. The correlation between the microstructure of nanocomposites and optical properties, studied using UV-Vis spectroscopy, was also established. Further more, the electrical properties of the composites were studied as a function of the metal volume fraction. It was observed that the nanocomposite films exhibit a percolation threshold at a metal volume fraction of 0.43 and 0.20 for gold nanoclusters in Teflon AF and Poly(α-methylstyrene), respectively.

(Received May 6 2005)

(Revised August 17 2005)

(Accepted September 29 2005)

(Online publication January 26 2006)


  • 78.67.-n – Optical properties of low-dimensional, mesoscopic, and nanoscale materials and structures;
  • 78.67.Bf – Nanocrystals and nanoparticles