Researchers create new ultra-sensitive tool for chemical, DNA and protein analysis

Published on February 16, 2013 at 6:00 AM · No Comments

Gartia explained that light-matter interaction using sub-wavelength hole arrays gives rise to interesting optical phenomena such as surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) mediated enhanced optical transmission (EOT). In case of EOT, more than expected amount of light can be transmitted through nanoholes on otherwise opaque metal thin films. Since the thin metal film has special optical property called surface plasmon resonance (SPR) which is affected by tiny amount surrounding materials, such device has been used as biosensing applications.

According to the researchers, most of the previous studies have mainly focused on manipulating in-plane two-dimensional (2D) EOT structures such as tuning the hole diameter, shape, or distance between the holes. In addition, most of the previous studies are concerned with straight holes only. Here, the EOT is mediated mainly by SPPs, which limits the sensitivity and figure of merits obtainable from such devices.

"Our current design employs 3D sub-wavelength tapered periodic hole array plasmonic structure. In contrast to the SPP mediated EOT, the proposed structure relies on Localized Surface Plasmon (LSP) mediated EOT," Gartia said. "The advantage of LSPs is that the enhanced transmission at different wavelengths and with different dispersion properties can be tuned by controlling the size, shape, and materials of the 3D holes. The tapered geometry will funnel and adiabatically focus the photons on to the sub-wavelength plasmonic structure at the bottom, leading to large local electric field and enhancement of EOT.

"Secondly the localized resonance supported by 3D plasmonic structure will enable broadband tuning of optical transmission through controlling the shape, size, and period of holes as well as the shape, size, and period of metallic particles decorated at the side walls. In other words, we will have more controllability over tuning the resonance wavelengths of the sensor."

Source: University of Illinois College of Engineering

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