We have developed GaInAsP semiconductor photonic crystal nanolaser biosensor and demonstrated the detection of ultralow-concentration (fM to aM) proteins and deoxyribonucleic acids (DNAs) adsorbed on the device surface. In general, this type of photonic sensors exploiting optical resonance has been considered to detect the refractive index of biomolecules via the wavelength shift. However, this principle cannot explain the detection of such ultralowconcentration. Therefore, we investigated another candidate principle, i.e., ion sensitivity. We consider such a process that 1) the electric charge of biomolecules changes the nanolaser’s surface charge, 2) the Schottky barrier near the semiconductor surface is increased or decreased, 3) the distribution of photopumped carriers is modified by the barrier, 4) the refractive index of the semiconductor is changed by the carrier effects, and 5) the laser wavelength shifts. To confirm this process, we electrochemically measured the zeta and flatband potentials when charged electrolyte polymers were adsorbed in water. We clearly observed that these potentials temporally behaved consistently with that of the laser wavelength, which suggests that polymers significantly acted on the Schottky barrier. The same behaviors were also observed for the adsorption of 1 fM DNA. We consider that a limited number of charged DNA changed the surface functional group of the entire device surface. Such charge effects will be the key that achieves the ultrahigh sensitivity in the nanolaser biosensor.
Pyramidal silicon nanospikes, termed black-Si (b-Si), with controlled height of 0.2 to 1 μm, were fabricated by plasma etching over 3-in wafers and were shown to act as variable density filters in a wide range of the IR spectrum 2.5 to 20 μm, with transmission and its spectral gradient dependent on the height of the spikes. Such variable density IR filters can be utilized for imaging and monitoring applications. Narrow IR notch filters were realized with gold mesh arrays on Si wafers prospective for applications in surface-enhanced IR absorption sensing and “cold materials” for heat radiation into atmospheric IR transmission window. Both types of filters for IR: spectrally variable and notch are made by simple fabrication methods.
Photo-thermal - to - electrical converter is demonstrated by using a commercial Peltier Bi-Te element with a hot contact made out of nanotextured Si (black-Si). Black-Si with colloidal Au nanoparticles is shown to further increase the efficiency of thermal-to-electrical conversion. Peculiarities of heat harvesting using black-Si with plasmonic Au nanoparticles at different gold densities are analyzed. Solar radiation absorption and electric field enhancement in plain and Au nanoparticle decorated black-Si was simulated using finite difference time domain (FDTD) method. Thermal conduction in nanotextured black-Si was explained using phonon Monte-Carlo simulations at the nanoscale. Strategies for creating larger thermal gradient on Peltier element using nanotextured light absorbers is discussed.
Plasmonics and nanoscale antennas have been intensively investigated for sensors, metasurfaces and optical trapping where light control at the nanoscale enables new functionalities. To confine and manipulate the light in tiny spaces sub-wavelength antennas should be used with dimensions from micro- to nano-meters and are still challenging to make. Direct fabrication/modification of nanostructures using focused ion beam (FIB) milling is demonstrated for several types of antennas. Arrays of identical nanoparticles were fabricated in a single step by (i) milling gold films or (ii) by modifying structures which were already defined by electron beam or mask projection lithography. Direct FIB writing enables to exclude resist processing steps, thus making fabrication faster and simpler. Sensor areas of 25x25 μm<sup>2</sup> of densely packed nanoparticles separated by tens-of-nanometers were fabricated in half an hour (10<sup>3</sup> μm2/h throughput at 90 nm resolution). Patterns of chiral nanoparticles by groove inscription is demonstrated. The processing speed and capability to mill complex 3D surfaces due to depth of focus not compromised over micrometers length, makes it possible to reach sub-50 nm resolution of direct write. FIB technology is practical for emerging applications in nano-fabrication/photonic/fluidic/magnetic applications.