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

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

608 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 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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