Engineering of Vis-NIR Metamaterials towards Revolutionary Ultrasensitive and Versatile Plasmonic Biosensors

Jun Zhang, Cuong Cao, Qihua Xiong

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther contribution to conferencepeer-review


By enabling subwavelength light localization and strong electromagnetic field enhancement, plasmonic biosensors have opened up a new realm of possibilities for a broad range of chemical and biological sensing applications owing to their label-free and real-time attributes. Although significant progress has been made, many fundamental and practical challenges still remain to be addressed. For instance, the plasmonic biosensors are nonselective sensing platforms; they are not well-suited to provide information regarding conformation or chemical fingerprint of unknown biomolecules. Furthermore, tunability of the plasmonic resonance in visible frequency regime is still limited; this will prevent their efficient and reproducible exploitation in single-molecule sensitivity. Here, we show that by engineering geometry of plasmonic metamaterials,1 consisting of periodic arrays of artificial split-ring resonators (SRRs), the plasmonic resonance of metamaterials could be tuned to visible-near infrared regimes (Vis-NIR) such that it allows parallel acquisition of optical transmission and highly surface-enhanced Raman (SERS) spectra from large functionalized SRR arrays. The Au SRRs were designed in form of alphabet letters (U, V, S, H, Y) with various line width (from 80 to 30 nm). By tailoring their size and shape, plasmonic resonance wavelength of the SRRs could be actively tuned so that it gives the strongest SERS effect under given excitation energy and polarization for biological and organic molecules. On the other hand, the plasmonic tunability was also achieved for a given SRR pattern by tuning the laser wavelength to obtain the highest electromagnetic field enhancement. The geometry- and laser-tunable channels typically provide an electromagnetic field enhancement as high as 20 times. This will provide the basis of versatile and multichannel devices for identification of different conformational states of Guanine-rich DNA, detection of a cancer biomarker nucleolin, and femtomolar sensitivity detection of food and drink additives. These results show that the tunable Vis-IR metamaterials are very versatile biosensing platforms and suggest considerable promise in genomic research, disease diagnosis, and food safety analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventPhotonics Global Conference 2012 (Invited talk) - Singapore , Singapore
Duration: 13 Dec 201216 Dec 2012


ConferencePhotonics Global Conference 2012 (Invited talk)


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