Breaking the diffusion limit with super-hydrophobic delivery of molecules to plasmonic nanofocusing SERS structures

F. De Angelis*, F. Gentile, F. Mecarini, Gobind Das, Manola Moretti, P. Candeloro, M. L. Coluccio, G. Cojoc, A. Accardo, Carlo Liberale, R. P. Zaccaria, G. Perozziello, L. Tirinato, A. Toma, G. Cuda, R. Cingolani, Enzo Di Fabrizio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

479 Scopus citations

Abstract

The detection of a few molecules in a highly diluted solution is of paramount interest in fields including biomedicine, safety and eco-pollution in relation to rare and dangerous chemicals. Nanosensors based on plasmonics are promising devices in this regard, in that they combine the features of high sensitivity, label-free detection and miniaturization. However, plasmonic-based nanosensors, in common with general sensors with sensitive areas on the scale of nanometres, cannot be used directly to detect molecules dissolved in femto- or attomolar solutions. In other words, they are diffusion-limited and their detection times become impractical at such concentrations. In this Article, we demonstrate, by combining super-hydrophobic artificial surfaces and nanoplasmonic structures, that few molecules can be localized and detected even at attomolar (10-18 mol l-1) concentration. Moreover, the detection can be combined with fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy, such that the chemical signature of the molecules can be clearly determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-687
Number of pages6
JournalNature Photonics
Volume5
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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