Sub-wavelength diameter holes in thin metal layers can exhibit remarkable optical features that make them highly suitable for (bio)sensing applications. Either as efficient light scattering centers for surface plasmon excitation or metal-clad optical waveguides, they are able to form strongly localized optical fields that can effectively interact with biomolecules and/or nanoparticles on the nanoscale. As the metal of choice, aluminum exhibits good optical and electrical properties, is easy to manufacture and process and, unlike gold and silver, its low cost makes it very promising for commercial applications. However, aluminum has been scarcely used for biosensing purposes due to corrosion and pitting issues. In this short review, we show our recent achievements on aluminum nanohole platforms for (bio)sensing. These include a method to circumvent aluminum degradation—which has been successfully applied to the demonstration of aluminum nanohole array (NHA) immunosensors based on both, glass and polycarbonate compact discs supports—the use of aluminum nanoholes operating as optical waveguides for synthesizing submicron-sized molecularly imprinted polymers by local photopolymerization, and a technique for fabricating transferable aluminum NHAs onto flexible pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes, which could facilitate the development of a wearable technology based on aluminum NHAs.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited