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      Hybrid nanoparticle–microcavity-based plasmonic nanosensors with improved detection resolution and extended remote-sensing ability

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          Abstract

          Optical nanosensors based on plasmonic nanoparticles have great potential for chemical and biological sensing applications, but their spectral detection resolution is severely constrained by their broad resonance linewidth, and their spatial sensing depth is limited to several tens of nanometres. Here we demonstrate that coupling a strong dipolar plasmonic resonance of a single metallic nanoparticle to the narrow bandwidth resonances of an optical microcavity creates a hybrid mode and discretizes the broad localized resonance, boosting the sensing figure-of-merit by up to 36 times. This cavity–nanoparticle system effectively combines the advantages of Fabry–Perot microresonators with those of plasmonic nanoparticles, providing interesting features such as remote-sensing ability, incident-angle independent resonances, strong polarization dependence, lateral ultra small sensing volume and strongly improved detection resolution. Such a hybrid system can be used not only to locally monitor specific dynamic processes in biosensing, but also to remotely sense important film parameters in thin-film nanometrology.

          Abstract

          Plasmonic nanoparticles are useful as optical sensors, but their spectral resolution is hindered by the linewidth of the plasmon resonance. Schmidt et al. find that coupling this resonance to a microcavity creates hybrid modes with enhanced sensing figure-of-merit and improved frequency resolution.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Biosensing with plasmonic nanosensors.

          Recent developments have greatly improved the sensitivity of optical sensors based on metal nanoparticle arrays and single nanoparticles. We introduce the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) sensor and describe how its exquisite sensitivity to size, shape and environment can be harnessed to detect molecular binding events and changes in molecular conformation. We then describe recent progress in three areas representing the most significant challenges: pushing sensitivity towards the single-molecule detection limit, combining LSPR with complementary molecular identification techniques such as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, and practical development of sensors and instrumentation for routine use and high-throughput detection. This review highlights several exceptionally promising research directions and discusses how diverse applications of plasmonic nanoparticles can be integrated in the near future.
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            Nanostructured plasmonic sensors.

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              Localized surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy of single silver nanocubes.

              In this work, we use dark-field microscopy to observe a new plasmon resonance effect for a single silver nanocube in which the plasmon line shape has two distinct peaks when the particles are located on a glass substrate. The dependence of the resonance on nanocube size and shape is characterized, and it is found that the bluer peak has a higher figure of merit for chemical sensing applications than that for other particle shapes that have been studied previously. Comparison of the measured results with finite difference time domain (FDTD) electrodynamics calculations enables us to confirm the accuracy of our spectral assignments.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Pub. Group
                2041-1723
                09 October 2012
                : 3
                : 1108
                Affiliations
                [1 ]The Blackett Laboratory, Department of Physics, Imperial College London , London SW7 2AZ, UK.
                [2 ]Otto-Schott-Institute, University of Jena , 07745 Jena, Germany.
                [3 ]Institute of Chemical Sciences of Rennes, Glass and Ceramics team, University of Rennes , Rennes, France.
                [4 ]These authors contributed equally to this work.
                Author notes
                Article
                ncomms2109
                10.1038/ncomms2109
                4354268
                23047666
                Copyright © 2012, Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

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