Infoscience

Journal article

In-Plane Plasmonic Antenna Arrays with Surface Nanogaps for Giant Fluorescence Enhancement

Optical nanoantennas have a great potential for enhancing light-matter interactions at the nanometer scale, yet fabrication accuracy and lack of scalability currently limit ultimate antenna performance and applications. In most designs, the region of maximum field localization and enhancement (i.e., hotspot) is not readily accessible to the sample because it is buried into the nanostructure. Moreover, current large-scale fabrication techniques lack reproducible geometrical control below 20 nm. Here, we describe a new nanofabrication technique that applies planarization, etch back, and template stripping to expose the excitation hotspot at the surface, providing a major improvement over conventional electron beam lithography methods. We present large flat surface arrays of in-plane nanoantennas, featuring gaps as small as 10 nm with sharp edges, excellent reproducibility and full surface accessibility of the hotspot confined region. The novel fabrication approach drastically improves the optical performance of plasmonic nanoantennas to yield giant fluorescence enhancement factors up to 104–105 times, together with nanoscale detection volumes in the 20 zL range. The method is fully scalable and adaptable to a wide range of antenna designs. We foresee broad applications by the use of these in-plane antenna geometries ranging from large-scale ultrasensitive sensor chips to microfluidics and live cell membrane investigations.

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