Second Harmonic Generation of Chiral-Modified Silver Nanoparticles
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Chiral molecules, which exist under enantiomers with non-mirror-symmetrical structures, have been the subject of intense research for their linear and nonlinear optical activities. Cysteine is such a chiral amino acid found as a building block of proteins throughout human bodies. Second harmonic generation (SHG) has been considered to investigate chiral molecules. SHG from metallic nanoparticles is promising for nanoplasmonics and photonic nanodevice applications. Therefore, it’s desirable to combine and study nonlinear properties due to both chirality and metallic nanoparticles, and help developing an alternatively optical diagnostic of chiral molecules. Our experiments are carried out with the FemtoFiber Scientific FFS laser system. SHG of silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) modified by either L-Cysteine (L-C) or D-Cysteine (D-C) is observed, where L-Cysteine and D-Cysteine are a pair of enantiomers. Ag NPs are deposited through Vacuum Thermal Evaporation, controlled under different deposition thicknesses. UV-Vis/IR spectra and AFM are used to characterize Ag NPs under different conditions. Transmitted SHG measurements dependent on incidence are recorded with standard lock-in techniques. Deposition thickness of vacuum thermal evaporation plays an important role in forming diverse Ag NPs, which strongly imparts the intensity of SHG. Second harmonic intensity as a function of the incident angle presents similar results for Ag NPs with or without L-Cysteine or D-Cysteine modification, in the output of p- and s-polarization. However, we monitor reversed rotation difference in second harmonic intensities at linearly +45° and -45° polarization for L-C/Ag NPs and D-C/Ag NPs, while there’s no difference at linearly +45° and -45° polarization for Ag NPs alone. This optical rotation difference in SHG is termed as SHG-ORD. Also, for second harmonic light fixed at p-polarization, L-C/Ag NPs and D-C/Ag NPs exhibit a reversely net difference for SHG excited by right and left circular polarization, which is termed as SHG-CD. Experiments on SHG-ORD of chiral-modified Ag NPs by a mixture of L-Cysteine and D-Cysteine further help verifying the existence of chirality in chiral-modified Ag NPs. As a conclusion, SHG efficiently probed and distinguished L-Cysteine from D-Cysteine in chiral-modified Ag NPs.