Plasmonic aerogel containing 50 nm gold nanoparticles is made using a modified 2-step method that maintains control over the gel time while preventing nanoparticle aggregation. Strong narrow surface plasmon resonances verify that the nanoparticles are well dispersed within the silica matrix, and enable applications in sensing. SERS, nonlinear optics or plasmonic gain. Discrepancies between measured and simulated resonance wavelengths are attributed to the breakdown of the effective index approximation, due to the short-scale penetration of the resonance electric field into the host medium.
Grogan, M. D. W., Heck, S. C., Xiao, L. M., England, R., Maier, S. A., & Birks, T. A. (2012). Control of nanoparticle aggregation in aerogel hosts. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 358(2), 241-245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2011.09.018