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Nature Inspired Plasmonic Structures: Influence of Structural Characteristics on Sensing Capability

Laboratory BioNEM, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University Magna Graecia of Catanzaro, Loc. Germaneto, 88110 Catanzaro, Italy
Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Environmental Science Department, Second University of Naples, 81100 Caserta, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(5), 668;
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 26 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optics and Spectroscopy for Fluid Characterization)
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Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a powerful analytical technique that allows the enhancement of a Raman signal in a molecule or molecular assemblies placed in the proximity of nanostructured metallic surfaces, due to plasmonic effects. However, laboratory methods to obtain of these prototypes are time-consuming, expensive and they do not always lead to the desired result. In this work, we analyse structures existing in nature that show, on a nanoscale, characteristic conformations of photonic crystals. We demonstrate that these structures, if covered with gold, change into plasmonic nanostructures and are able to sustain the SERS effect. We study three different structures with this property: opal, a hydrated amorphous form of silica (SiO2·nH2O); diatoms, a kind of unicellular alga; and peacock tail feather. Rhodamine 6G (down to 10−12 M) is used to evaluate their capability to increase the Raman signal. These results allow us to define an alternative way to obtain a high sensitivity in Raman spectroscopy, currently achieved by a long and expensive technique, and to fabricate inexpensive nanoplasmonic structures which could be integrated into optical sensors. View Full-Text
Keywords: optical sensors; plasmonics; nanostructures optical sensors; plasmonics; nanostructures

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Perozziello, G.; Candeloro, P.; Coluccio, M.L.; Das, G.; Rocca, L.; Pullano, S.A.; Fiorillo, A.S.; De Stefano, M.; Di Fabrizio, E. Nature Inspired Plasmonic Structures: Influence of Structural Characteristics on Sensing Capability. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 668.

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