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New security and medical sensor devices made possible by metallic nanostructures
Date:4/7/2009

ructures has a unique effect on the way they scatter light an effect which could be very useful if, as our computer simulations suggest, it is extremely sensitive to changes in surrounding environment. With further testing we hope to show that it is possible to harness this property to make a highly sensitive nanosensor."

Metal nanostructures have been used as sensors before, as they interact very strongly with light due to so-called localised plasmon resonances. But this is the first time a pair with such a carefully tailored interaction with light has been created.

The device could be tailored to detect different chemicals by decorating the nanostructure surface with specific 'molecular traps' that bind the chosen target molecules. Once bound, the target molecules would change the colours that the device absorbs and scatters, alerting the sensor to their presence. The team's next step is to test whether the pair of nanostructures can detect chosen substances in lab experiments.

Professor Maier concludes: "This study is a beautiful example of how concepts from different areas of physics fertilise each other in essence our nanosensor system is a classical analogue of electromagnetically induced transparency, a famous phenomenon from quantum mechanics."


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Contact: Danielle Reeves
danielle.reeves@imperial.ac.uk
44-207-594-2198
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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