Localized surface plasmon resonance of noble metallic nanoparticles has been widely used in the fabrication of various sensors. Turning the nanostructure of localized surface plasmon resonance is significant because the resonance induced localized surface plasmon resonance shift is found to be strongly dependent on the structural characteristics, and thus the performance of the sensors. A simple sputtering, annealing, re-sputtering, and re-annealing process was proposed to tune the structural and optical characteristics of Au nano-islands deposited on the glass substrate. It was found that the size and inter-particle distance of nano-islands depend on annealing time and temperature. High temperature annealing tended to increase the size and inter-islands distance of Au islands. Re-sputtering and re-annealing under different conditions made size and inter-particle distance further tuning possible. Investigations on the optical characteristics of Au nano-islands demonstrated that the surface plasmon resonance peak and the spectral bandwidth of islands were tunable from 510 nm to 620 nm and from 50 nm to approximately 400 nm, respectively. The refractive index sensitivity of Au nano-islands determined by the surface plasmon band position change in different surrounding medium was compared. 500 °C 5 h annealing increased the value of refractive index sensitivity to approximately 58 nm/RIU from 26 nm/RIU under 100 °C 5 h annealing. Besides, Au nano-islands with the same re-sputtering condition but different re-annealing conditions showed the maximum value when the re-annealing temperature is at 500 °C for 5 h. In addition, the refractive index sensitivity, surface plasmon band position, and figure of merit were dependent with each other. These results suggest that the scheme "sputtering, annealing, re-sputtering, and re-annealing" is an effective method to adjust the structure and increase the refractive index sensitivity of sputtered Au islands.
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