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Long-Range Capture and Delivery of Water-Dispersed Nano-objects by Microbubbles Generated on 3D Plasmonic Surfaces

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posted on 28.03.2018, 00:00 by Francesco Tantussi, Gabriele C. Messina, Rosario Capozza, Michele Dipalo, Laura Lovato, Francesco De Angelis
The possibility of investigating small amounts of molecules, moieties, or nano-objects dispersed in solution constitutes a central step for various application areas in which high sensitivity is necessary. Here, we show that the rapid expansion of a water bubble can act as a fast-moving net for molecules or nano-objects, collecting the floating objects in the surrounding medium in a range up to 100 μm. Thanks to an engineered 3D patterning of the substrate, the collapse of the bubble could be guided toward a designed area of the surface with micrometric precision. Thus, a locally confined high density of particles is obtained, ready for evaluation by most optical/spectroscopic detection schemes. One of the main relevant strengths of the long-range capture and delivery method is the ability to increase, by a few orders of magnitude, the local density of particles with no changes in their physiological environment. The bubble is generated by an ultrafast IR laser pulse train focused on a resonant plasmonic antenna; due to the excitation process, the technique is trustworthy and applicable to biological samples. We have tested the reliabilities of the process by concentrating highly dispersed fluorescence molecules and fluorescent beads. Lastly, as an ultimate test, we have applied the bubble clustering method on nanosized exosome vesicles dispersed in water; due to the clustering effect, we were able to effectively perform Raman spectroscopy on specimens that were otherwise extremely difficult to measure.