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Ultrasensitive Broadband Probing of Molecular Vibrational Modes with Multifrequency Optical Antennas

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journal contribution
posted on 22.01.2013, 00:00 authored by Heykel Aouani, Hana Šípová, Mohsen Rahmani, Miguel Navarro-Cia, Kateřina Hegnerová, Jiří Homola, Minghui Hong, Stefan A. Maier
Optical antennas represent an enabling technology for enhancing the detection of molecular vibrational signatures at low concentrations and probing the chemical composition of a sample in order to identify target molecules. However, efficiently detecting different vibrational modes to determine the presence (or the absence) of a molecular species requires a multispectral interrogation in a window of several micrometers, as many molecules present informative fingerprint spectra in the mid-infrared between 2.5 and 10 μm. As most nanoantennas exhibit a narrow-band response because of their dipolar nature, they are not suitable for such applications. Here, we propose the use of multifrequency optical antennas designed for operating with a bandwidth of several octaves. We demonstrate that surface-enhanced infrared absorption gains in the order of 105 can be easily obtained in a spectral window of 3 μm with attomolar concentrations of molecules, providing new opportunities for ultrasensitive broadband detection of molecular species via vibrational spectroscopy techniques.