Nanoporous gold nanoparticles (NPG-NP) showcase tunable pore and ligament sizes ranging from nanometers to microns. The nanoporous structure and sub-wavelength nanoparticle shape contribute to its unique LSPR properties. NPG-NP features large specific surface area and high-density plasmonic field enhancement known as “hot-spots”. Hence, NPG-NP has found many applications in nanoplasmonic sensor development. In our recent studies, we have shown that NPG-NP array chip can be utilized for high-sensitivity detection by various enhanced spectroscopic modalities, as photothermal agents, and for disease biomarker detection.
To date, array-format, substrate-bound NPGN has been fabricated by either colloidal nanosphere lithography or random nucleation during the sputtering deposition process. Although highly cost-effective, these techniques cannot provide precise control of individual particle size and location. In this paper, we report the development of a new fabrication technique based on electron-beam lithography (EBL).
Herein, a customized EBL technique is utilized to pattern larger areas (several square millimeters) of randomly distributed NPGN by careful design of the shot pattern, which limits the writing time to the acceptable level. Since the position, size, and shape of a huge number of features need to be generated and stored individually, memory limitations of this unique EBL technique constitutes an additional challenge, which is normally not present if small areas are to be patterned with features on an ordered lattice. This issue is solved by programmatically generating random feature positions within a simulation cell of carefully chosen size and implementing periodic boundary conditions.