Far Eastern Federal University Develops Multi-Purpose Sensor Containing Millions of Parabolic Nano-antennae

Researchers at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in Vladivostok, Russia have developed a multi-purpose sensor based on a gold film containing millions of parabolic nano-antennae. The sensor is capable of identifying trace molecules in both liquid and gas environments and can be applied for bioanalysis, environmental monitoring, food quality analysis, and various security systems.

“Despite the significant progress that science has made in the field of high-precision physicochemical sensors over the past several decades, flexible inexpensive technologies for manufacturing cheap multi-purpose sensors combining different measurement modalities within single device are still required. Existing lithographic technologies for such sensors fabrication are time and money consuming and therefore are not suitable for mass production. We proposed efficient and cheap laser printing technology to solve the mentioned issue. Using it we can easily produce sensor elements with the desired surface morphology and resonant properties, optimized to merge different sensing modalities and, to have sufficient mechanical strength to operate in liquid environment,” said Aleksandr Kuchmizhak, research fellow at the FEFU STI for Virtual and Augmented Reality.

The sensor system on the nanotextured gold film was fabricated by direct femtosecond-laser printing. The exposure of the ultrathin gold film to single femtosecond pulses resulted in the formation of millions of hollow parabolic nanostructures (nanovoids). An ordered array of these nanostructures effectively convert incident radiation of the visible and IR spectral ranges into special surface waves – surface plasmons – which provide the sensor with its remarkable sensitivity to changes of the surroundings.

The research was a collaboration of scientists from FEFU, FEB RAS and MEPhI, as well as from Nagoya Institute of Technology (Japan), Tokai University (Japan) and Swinburne University of Technology (Australia).

The research paper has been published in Nanomaterials (“Multi-Purpose Nanovoid Array Plasmonic Sensor Produced by Direct Laser Patterning”).