In the quest to exploit unique properties at the nanoscale, scientists at Stevens Institute of Technology have developed a novel technique for creating uniform arrays of metallic nanostructures. A team of faculty and students in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, led by Dr. Stefan Strauf, appropriated methods from holographic lithography to demonstrate a new approach for scaling up the fabrication of plasmonic nanogap arrays while simultaneously reducing costs and infrastructure. A paper on the technique recently appeared in Nano Letters 11, 2715 (2011).
"Prof. Strauf is doing research at the forefront of physics," says Dr. Rainer Martini, Department Director for Physics and Engineering Physics. "His lab is producing research breakthroughs with impact well beyond his own field as well as providing excellent learning and publishing opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students."
Plasmonic nanogap arrays are essentially uniformly placed metallic nanostructures which feature a tiny air gap between neighbors. By creating strongly confined electrical fields under optical illumination, these tiny air gaps allow scientists to use the arrays in a variety of applications, particularly in the miniaturization of photonic circuits and ultrasensitive sensing. Such sensors could be used to detect the presence of specific proteins or chemicals down to the level of single molecules, or employed in high-resolution microscopy. Nanophotonic circuits, able to transmit huge amounts of information, are considered crucial to bring about the exaflop processing era and a new generation in computing power.
Established fabrication techniques for nanogap arrays have focused on serial methods, which are time-consuming, have a low throughput, and are consequently expensive. Holographic lithography (HL), an optical approach that takes advantage of interference patterns of laser beams to create periodic patterns, had been previously de
|Contact: Christine del Rosario|
Stevens Institute of Technology