Deterministic assembly of linear gold nanorod chains as a platform for nanoscale applications

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We demonstrate a method to assemble gold nanorods highly deterministically into a chain formation by means of directed capillary assembly. This way we achieved straight chains consisting of end-to-end aligned gold nanorods assembled in one specific direction with well-controlled gaps of ∼6 nm between the individual constituents. We determined the conditions for optimum quality and yield of nanorod chain assembly by investigating the influence of template dimensions and assembly temperature. In addition, we transferred the gold nanorod chains from the assembly template onto a Si/SiO2 target substrate, thus establishing a platform for a variety of nanoscale electronic and optical applications ranging from molecular electronics to optical and plasmonic devices. As a first example, electrical measurements are performed on contacted gold nanorod chains before and after their immersion in a solution of thiol end-capped oligophenylenevinylene molecules showing an increase in the conductance by three orders of magnitude, indicating molecular-mediated transport. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.