We introduce a subwavelength thick (~ 200 nm) plasmofluidic microlens that effortlessly achieves objective-free focusing and self-alignment of opposing optical scattering and fluidic drag forces for selective separation of exosome size bioparticles. Our optofluidic microlens provides a self-collimating mechanism for particle trajectories with a spatial dispersion that is inherently minimized by the optical gradient and radial fluidic drag forces. We demonstrate that this facile platform facilitates complete separation of small size bioparticles (i.e., exosomes) from a heterogenous mixture through negative depletion and provides a robust selective separation capability based on differences in chemical composition (refractive index). Unlike existing optical chromatography techniques that require complicated instrumentation (lasers, objectives and precise alignment stages), our platform open up the possibility of multiplexed and high-throughput sorting of nanoparticles on a chip.
We demonstrate that patches of two dimensional arrays of circular plasmonic nanoholes patterned on gold-titanium thin film enables subwavelength focusing of visible light in far field region. Efficient coupling of the light with the excited surface plasmon at metal dielectric interface results in strong light transmission. As a result, surface plasmon plays an important role in the far field focusing behavior of the nanohole-aperture patches device. Furthermore, the focal length of the focused beam was found to be predominantly dependent on the overall size of the patch, which is in good agreement with that calculated by Rayleigh-Sommerfield integral formula. The focused light beam can be utilized to separate bio-particles in the dynamic range from 0.1 μm to 1 μm through mainly overcoming the drag force induced by fluid flow. In our proposed model, focused light generated by our plasmonic lenses will push the larger bio-particles in size back to the source of fluid flow and allow the smaller particles to move towards the central aperture of the patch. Such a new kind of plasmonic lenses open up possibility of sorting bacterium-like particles with plasmonic nanolenses, and also represent a promising tool in the field of virology.