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Self-Aligned Plasmonic Nanopores by Optically Controlled Dielectric Breakdown

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journal contribution
posted on 14.10.2015, 00:00 by Sergii Pud, Daniel Verschueren, Nikola Vukovic, Calin Plesa, Magnus P. Jonsson, Cees Dekker
We present a novel cost-efficient method for the fabrication of high-quality self-aligned plasmonic nanopores by means of an optically controlled dielectric breakdown. Excitation of a plasmonic bowtie nanoantenna on a dielectric membrane localizes the high-voltage-driven breakdown of the membrane to the hotspot of the enhanced optical field, creating a nanopore that is automatically self-aligned to the plasmonic hotspot of the bowtie. We show that the approach provides precise control over the nanopore size and that these plasmonic nanopores can be used as single molecule DNA sensors with a performance matching that of TEM-drilled nanopores. The principle of optically controlled breakdown can also be used to fabricate nonplasmonic nanopores at a controlled position. Our novel fabrication process guarantees alignment of the nanopore with the optical hotspot of the nanoantenna, thus ensuring that pore-translocating biomolecules interact with the concentrated optical field that can be used for detection and manipulation of analytes.