Spatially inhomogeneous enhancement of fluorescence by a monolayer of silver nanoparticles
Near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) was applied to study the effect of a two-dimensional array of silver nanoparticles on the spatial distribution and magnitude of fluorescence signal enhancement for a monolayer of Rhodamine 6G (Rh6G). Twenty polyelectrolyte monolayers were deposited between the nanoparticles and the dye by a layer-by-layer deposition technique resulting in a 15-20 nm separation cushion, necessary to minimize the fluorescence signal quenching. The fluorescence signal in NSOM images was found to be distributed inhomogeneously as small (100-200 nm in diameter) fluorescent clusters with typically 5-30 times higher fluorescence intensities than a sample without nanoparticles. The position and relative intensity of the clusters was found to be dependent on the excitation wavelength, suggesting that the enhancement originates from the nanoparticle surface plasmon resonance.