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Tunable Plasmonic Nanohole Arrays Actuated by a Thermoresponsive Hydrogel Cushion

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journal contribution
posted on 14.01.2016, 00:00 by Nityanand Sharma, Hamid Keshmiri, Xiaodong Zhou, Ten It Wong, Christian Petri, Ulrich Jonas, Bo Liedberg, Jakub Dostalek
New plasmonic structure with actively tunable optical characteristics based on thermoresponsive hydrogel is reported. It consists of a thin, template-stripped Au film with arrays of nanoholes that is tethered to a transparent support by a cross-linked poly­(N-isopropyl­acrylamide) (pNIPAAm)-based polymer network. Upon a contact of the porous Au surface with an aqueous environment, a rapid flow of water through the pores enables swelling and collapsing of the underlying pNIPAAm network. The swelling and collapsing could be triggered by small temperature changes around the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of the hydrogel. The process is reversible, and it is associated with strong refractive index changes of Δn ∼ 0.1, which characteristically alters the spectrum of surface plasmon modes supported by the porous Au film. This approach can offer new attractive means for optical biosensors with flow-through architecture and actively tunable plasmonic transmission optical filters.