Scattering cross-section of metal nanoparticles is enhanced due to Localized Surface Plasmons Resonance (LSPR) permitting the observation of single metal nanoparticles as small as 40 nm using dark-field microscopy. Single particle resolved measurements allow the study of reactions happening on the nanoparticle surface involving an ultra-low number of reactant molecules to understand stochastic effects in reactive systems. Here we report a method to enhance the intensity of resonantly scattered light by using appropriately designed substrates. Specifically, we show that by using a multi-layer dielectric substrate with its high reflectance window spanning the LSPR resonance position, one can increase the intensity of scattered light by nearly an order of magnitude. We took three substrates namely Silicon, glass and the multilayer dielectric mirror. Disk shaped gold nanostructures with sizes ranging from 80 nm – 300 nm were fabricated using electron beam lithography on all three substrates. Sizes of individual nanostructures were determined by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and the dark-field image of each nanostructure was taken with an optical microscope. It was observed that the intensity of light scattered by single nanparticles was roughly an order magnitude larger than that from Silicon and glass substrates. We used a numerical scheme based on Discrete Dipole Approximation to computationally validate our results. The numerical results matched the experiments quite well. The substrate enhanced scattering signal will useful to improve the signal to noise ratio in single particle resolved measurements.
Complex biological samples such as serum contain thousands of proteins and other molecules spanning up to 13 orders of magnitude in concentration. Present measurement techniques do not permit the analysis of all pair-wise interactions between the components of such a complex mixture to a given target molecule. In this work we explore the use of nanoparticle tags which encode the identity of the molecule to obtain the statistical distribution of pair-wise interactions using their Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance (LSPR) signals. The nanoparticle tags are chosen such that the binding between two molecules conjugated to the respective nanoparticle tags can be recognized by the coupling of their LSPR signals. This numerical simulation is done by DDA to investigate this approach using a reduced system consisting of three nanoparticles (a gold ellipsoid with aspect ratio 2.5 and short axis 16 nm, and two silver ellipsoids with aspect ratios 3 and 2 and short axes 8 nm and 10 nm respectively) and the set of all possible dimers formed between them. Incident light was circularly polarized and all possible particle and dimer orientations were considered. We observed that minimum peak separation between two spectra is 5 nm while maximum is 184nm.