Special Issue "Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanophotonics Materials and Devices".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Barbara Fazio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici (IPCF), Messina, Italy
Interests: photonics; plasmonics; Raman; SERS; nanomaterials
Dr. Cristiano D’Andrea
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Istituto di Fisica Applicata “Nello Carrara” (IFAC), Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy
Interests: Raman; SERS; TERS; Biomarkers, Nanomaterials, Sensors
Dr. Paolo Matteini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Istituto di Fisica Applicata “Nello Carrara” (IFAC), Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy
Interests: biophotonics; nanohybrid materials; optical sensors; plasmon-enhanced spectroscopies; theranostics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Light–matter interactions at the nanoscale can lead to a plethora of optical effects, thus paving the way for a wide range of applications, from harvesting and new light sources to imaging and sensing. For this reason, interest in nanophotonics has significantly increased in modern times. On the other hand, the fabrication of nanostructures that can meet the demand for a suitable light–matter coupling, such as precise shape, size, and geometry, both ordered and disordered, is a research field in constant expansion. Moreover, metallic nanomaterials and their plasmonic properties are known to promote an increase of light–matter interactions. These occurrences have a large impact in enhanced spectroscopies, dramatically increasing their sensitivity, with important outcomes in the diagnostic and medical fields. At the same time, the modelling, synthesis, and characterization of nanomaterials are crucial to approach and deepen fundamental physics at the nanoscale.

This Special Issue of Nanomaterials concentrates on a wide range of topics, including advances in the preparation and characterization of photonics and plasmonics materials and their use in modern devices based on light–matter coupling at the nanoscale. Therefore, it is a great pleasure for us to invite you to contribute to this Special Issue, which welcomes experimental and theoretical original research papers, communications, and reviews articles.

Dr. Barbara Fazio
Dr. Cristiano D’Andrea
Dr. Paolo Matteini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nanomaterials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Nanostructures: synthesis and characterizations
  • Plasmonics materials
  • Photonics materials
  • Nanomaterials for optical devices
  • Nanomaterials for sensing
  • Enhanced spectroscopies, SERS, TERS, and SEIRA/SEIRS
  • Dielectric, hybrid, and carbon-based nanostructures
  • Modeling
  • Light–matter coupling
  • Mie scatterers
  • Light-induced theranostics application of nanoparticles

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Cost-Effective Fabrication of Fractal Silicon Nanowire Arrays
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(8), 1972; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11081972 - 31 Jul 2021
Viewed by 463
Abstract
Silicon nanowires (Si NWs) emerged in several application fields as a strategic element to surpass the bulk limits with a flat compatible architecture. The approaches used for the Si NW realization have a crucial impact on their final performances and their final cost. [...] Read more.
Silicon nanowires (Si NWs) emerged in several application fields as a strategic element to surpass the bulk limits with a flat compatible architecture. The approaches used for the Si NW realization have a crucial impact on their final performances and their final cost. This makes the research on a novel and flexible approach for Si NW fabrication a crucial point for Si NW-based devices. In this work, the novelty is the study of the flexibility of thin film metal-assisted chemical etching (MACE) for the fabrication of Si NWs with the possibility of realizing different doped Si NWs, and even a longitudinal heterojunction p-n inside the same single wire. This point has never been reported by using thin metal film MACE. In particular, we will show how this approach permits one to obtain a high density of vertically aligned Si NWs with the same doping of the substrate and without any particular constraint on doping type and level. Fractal arrays of Si NWs can be fabricated without any type of mask thanks to the self-assembly of gold at percolative conditions. This Si NW fractal array can be used as a substrate to realize controllable artificial fractals, integrating other interesting elements with a cost-effective microelectronics compatible approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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Article
Cost Effective Silver Nanowire-Decorated Graphene Paper for Drop-On SERS Biodetection
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(6), 1495; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11061495 - 04 Jun 2021
Viewed by 977
Abstract
The use of SERS for real-world bioanalytical applications represents a concrete opportunity, which, however, is being largely delayed by the inadequacy of existing substrates used to collect SERS spectra. In particular, the main bottleneck is their poor usability, as in the case of [...] Read more.
The use of SERS for real-world bioanalytical applications represents a concrete opportunity, which, however, is being largely delayed by the inadequacy of existing substrates used to collect SERS spectra. In particular, the main bottleneck is their poor usability, as in the case of unsupported noble metal colloidal nanoparticles or because of the need for complex or highly specialized fabrication procedures, especially in view of a large-scale commercial diffusion. In this work, we introduce a graphene paper-supported plasmonic substrate for biodetection as obtained by a simple and rapid aerosol deposition patterning of silver nanowires. This substrate is compatible with the analysis of small (2 μL) analyte drops, providing stable SERS signals at sub-millimolar concentration and a detection limit down to the nanogram level in the case of hemoglobin. The presence of a graphene underlayer assures an even surface distribution of SERS hotspots with improved stability of the SERS signal, the collection of well-resolved and intense SERS spectra, and an ultra-flat and photostable SERS background in comparison with other popular disposable supports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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Article
Dendritic Forest-Like Ag Nanostructures Prepared Using Fluoride-Assisted Galvanic Replacement Reaction for SERS Applications
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(6), 1359; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11061359 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 587
Abstract
Dendritic forest-like Ag nanostructures were deposited on a silicon wafer through fluoride-assisted galvanic replacement reaction (FAGRR) in aqueous AgNO3 and buffered oxide etchant. The prepared nanostructures were characterized using scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy, a surface [...] Read more.
Dendritic forest-like Ag nanostructures were deposited on a silicon wafer through fluoride-assisted galvanic replacement reaction (FAGRR) in aqueous AgNO3 and buffered oxide etchant. The prepared nanostructures were characterized using scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy, a surface profiler (alpha step), and X-ray diffraction. Additionally, the dendritic forest-like Ag nanostructures were characterized using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) when a 4-mercaptobenzoic acid (4-MBA) monolayer was adsorbed on the Ag surface. The Ag nanostructures exhibited intense SERS signal from 4-MBA because of their rough surface, and this intense signal led to an intense local electromagnetic field upon electromagnetic excitation. The enhancement factor for 4-MBA molecules adsorbed on the Ag nanostructures was calculated to be 9.18 × 108. Furthermore, common Raman reporters such as rhodamine 6G, 4-aminothiolphenol, 5,5′-dithiobis-2-nitrobenzoic acid, and carboxyfluorescein (FAM) were characterized on these dendritic forest-like Ag nanostructures, leading to the development of an ultrasensitive SERS-based DNA sensor with a limit of detection of 33.5 nM of 15-mer oligonucleotide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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Article
Glucose Detection of 4-Mercaptophenylboronic Acid-Immobilized Gold-Silver Core-Shell Assembled Silica Nanostructure by Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(4), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11040948 - 08 Apr 2021
Viewed by 634
Abstract
The importance of glucose in many biological processes continues to garner increasing research interest in the design and development of efficient biotechnology for the sensitive and selective monitoring of glucose. Here we report on a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) detection of 4-mercaptophenyl boronic [...] Read more.
The importance of glucose in many biological processes continues to garner increasing research interest in the design and development of efficient biotechnology for the sensitive and selective monitoring of glucose. Here we report on a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) detection of 4-mercaptophenyl boronic acid (4-MPBA)-immobilized gold-silver core-shell assembled silica nanostructure (SiO2@[email protected]@4-MPBA) for quantitative, selective detection of glucose in physiologically relevant concentration. This work confirmed that 4-MPBA converted to 4-mercaptophenol (4-MPhOH) in the presence of H2O2. In addition, a calibration curve for H2O2 detection of 0.3 µg/mL was successfully detected in the range of 1.0 to 1000 µg/mL. Moreover, the SiO2@[email protected]@4-MPBA for glucose detection was developed in the presence of glucose oxidase (GOx) at the optimized condition of 100 µg/mL GOx with 1-h incubation time using 20 µg/mL SiO2@[email protected]@4-MPBA and measuring Raman signal at 67 µg/mL SiO2@[email protected] At the optimized condition, the calibration curve in the range of 0.5 to 8.0 mM was successfully developed with an LOD of 0.15 mM. Based on those strategies, the SERS detection of glucose can be achieved in the physiologically relevant concentration range and opened a great promise to develop a SERS-based biosensor for a variety of biomedicine applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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Article
Doubly-Resonant Photonic Crystal Cavities for Efficient Second-Harmonic Generation in III–V Semiconductors
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(3), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11030605 - 28 Feb 2021
Viewed by 820
Abstract
Second-order nonlinear effects, such as second-harmonic generation, can be strongly enhanced in nanofabricated photonic materials when both fundamental and harmonic frequencies are spatially and temporally confined. Practically designing low-volume and doubly-resonant nanoresonators in conventional semiconductor compounds is challenging owing to their intrinsic refractive [...] Read more.
Second-order nonlinear effects, such as second-harmonic generation, can be strongly enhanced in nanofabricated photonic materials when both fundamental and harmonic frequencies are spatially and temporally confined. Practically designing low-volume and doubly-resonant nanoresonators in conventional semiconductor compounds is challenging owing to their intrinsic refractive index dispersion. In this work we review a recently developed strategy to design doubly-resonant nanocavities with low mode volume and large quality factor via localized defects in a photonic crystal structure. We built on this approach by applying an evolutionary optimization algorithm in connection with Maxwell equations solvers; the proposed design recipe can be applied to any material platform. We explicitly calculated the second-harmonic generation efficiency for doubly-resonant photonic crystal cavity designs in typical III–V semiconductor materials, such as GaN and AlGaAs, while targeting a fundamental harmonic at telecom wavelengths and fully accounting for the tensor nature of the respective nonlinear susceptibilities. These results may stimulate the realization of small footprint photonic nanostructures in leading semiconductor material platforms to achieve unprecedented nonlinear efficiencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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Article
An Application of Multivariate Data Analysis to Photoacoustic Imaging for the Spectral Unmixing of Gold Nanorods in Biological Tissues
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11010142 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 648
Abstract
Gold nanorods (GNRs) showed to be a suitable contrast agent in photoacoustics (PA), and are able to provide a tunable absorption contrast against background tissue, while a detectable PA signal can be generated from highly localized and targeted areas. A crucial issue for [...] Read more.
Gold nanorods (GNRs) showed to be a suitable contrast agent in photoacoustics (PA), and are able to provide a tunable absorption contrast against background tissue, while a detectable PA signal can be generated from highly localized and targeted areas. A crucial issue for these imaging techniques is represented by the discrimination between exogenous and endogenous contrast and the assessment of the real PA signal magnitude. The application of image resolution/unmixing methods was implemented and optimized to recover the relative magnitude spectra and distribution maps of image constituents of the biological sample based on multivariate analysis (multivariate curve resolution—alternating least squares, MCR-ALS) in the presence of GNRs with tunable absorption properties. The proposed data analysis methodology is demonstrated on real PA images from experimental animal models and ex-vivo preparations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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Article
ZnO Nanowires on Single-Crystalline Aluminum Film Coupled with an Insulating WO3 Interlayer Manifesting Low Threshold SPP Laser Operation
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(9), 1680; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10091680 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
ZnO nanowire-based surface plasmon polariton (SPP) nanolasers with metal–insulator–semiconductor hierarchical nanostructures have emerged as potential candidates for integrated photonic applications. In the present study, we demonstrated an SPP nanolaser consisting of ZnO nanowires coupled with a single-crystalline aluminum (Al) film and a WO [...] Read more.
ZnO nanowire-based surface plasmon polariton (SPP) nanolasers with metal–insulator–semiconductor hierarchical nanostructures have emerged as potential candidates for integrated photonic applications. In the present study, we demonstrated an SPP nanolaser consisting of ZnO nanowires coupled with a single-crystalline aluminum (Al) film and a WO3 dielectric interlayer. High-quality ZnO nanowires were prepared using a vapor phase transport and condensation deposition process via catalyzed growth. Subsequently, prepared ZnO nanowires were transferred onto a single-crystalline Al film grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Meanwhile, a WO3 dielectric interlayer was deposited between the ZnO nanowires and Al film, via e-beam technique, to prevent the optical loss from dominating the metallic region. The metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) structured SPP laser, with an optimal WO3 insulating layer thickness of 3.6 nm, demonstrated an ultra-low threshold laser operation (lasing threshold of 0.79 MW cm−2). This threshold value was nearly eight times lower than that previously reported in similar ZnO/Al2O3/Al plasmonic lasers, which were ≈2.4 and ≈3 times suppressed compared to the SPP laser, with WO3 insulating layer thicknesses of 5 nm and 8 nm, respectively. Such suppression of the lasing threshold is attributed to the WO3 insulating layer, which mediated the strong confinement of the optical field in the subwavelength regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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Review

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Review
Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering-Based Lateral-Flow Immunoassay
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(11), 2228; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10112228 - 10 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
Lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) have been developed and used in a wide range of applications, in point-of-care disease diagnoses, environmental safety, and food control. However, in its classical version, it has low sensitivity and can only perform semiquantitative detection, based on colorimetric signals. [...] Read more.
Lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) have been developed and used in a wide range of applications, in point-of-care disease diagnoses, environmental safety, and food control. However, in its classical version, it has low sensitivity and can only perform semiquantitative detection, based on colorimetric signals. Over the past decade, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) tags have been developed in order to decrease the detection limit and enable the quantitative analysis of analytes. Of note, these tags needed new readout systems and signal processing algorithms, while the LFIA design remained unchanged. This review highlights SERS strategies of signal enhancement for LFIAs. The types of labels used, the possible gain in sensitivity from their use, methods of reading and processing the signal, and the prospects for use are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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