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Abstract We have studied optical properties of single-layer and multi-fold nanoporous gold leaf (NPGL) metamaterials and observed highly unusual transmission spectra composed of two well-resolved peaks. We explain this phenomenon in terms of a surface plasmon absorption band positioned on the top of a broader transmission band, the latter being characteristic of both homogeneous “solid” and inhomogeneous “diluted” Au films. The transmission spectra of NPGL metamaterials were shown to be controlled by external dielectric environments, e.g. water and applied voltage in an electrochemical cell. This paves the road to numerous functionalities of the studied tunable and active metamaterials, including control of spontaneous emission, energy transfer and many others.
We have studied emission kinetics of HITC laser dye on top of glass, smooth Au films, and randomly structured porous Au nanofoams. The observed concentration quenching of luminescence of highly concentrated dye on top of glass (energy transfer to acceptors) and the inhibition of the concentration quenching in vicinity of smooth Au films were in accord with our recent findings. Intriguingly, the emission kinetics recorded in different local spots of the Au nanofoam samples had a spread of the decay rates, which was large at low dye concentrations and became narrower with increase of the dye concentration. We infer that in different subvolumes of Au nanofoams, HITC molecules are coupled to the nanofoams weaker or stronger. The inhibition of the concentration quenching in Au nanofoams was stronger than on top of smooth Au films. This was true for all weakly and strongly coupled subvolumes contributing to the spread of the emission kinetics. The experimental observations were explained using theoretical model accounting for change in the Förster radius caused by the strong energy transfer to metal.