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Science. 2009 Jul 31;325(5940):594-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1174655.

Ultrasmooth patterned metals for plasmonics and metamaterials.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Surface plasmons are electromagnetic waves that can exist at metal interfaces because of coupling between light and free electrons. Restricted to travel along the interface, these waves can be channeled, concentrated, or otherwise manipulated by surface patterning. However, because surface roughness and other inhomogeneities have so far limited surface-plasmon propagation in real plasmonic devices, simple high-throughput methods are needed to fabricate high-quality patterned metals. We combined template stripping with precisely patterned silicon substrates to obtain ultrasmooth pure metal films with grooves, bumps, pyramids, ridges, and holes. Measured surface-plasmon-propagation lengths on the resulting surfaces approach theoretical values for perfectly flat films. With the use of our method, we demonstrated structures that exhibit Raman scattering enhancements above 10(7) for sensing applications and multilayer films for optical metamaterials.

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