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Nanoscale. 2011 Jul;3(7):2689-96. doi: 10.1039/c1nr10124b. Epub 2011 May 12.

Emerging fabrication techniques for 3D nano-structuring in plasmonics and single molecule studies.

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Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, NanoBioScience Department, via Morego 30, I16163 Genova, Italy.


The application of new methods and techniques to fields such as biology and medicine is becoming more and more demanding since the request of detailed information down to single molecules is a scientific necessity and a technical realistic possibility. In this effort a key role is played by emerging fabrication techniques. One of the hardest challenges is to incorporate the third dimension in the design and fabrication of novel devices. Significantly, this means that conventional nano-fabrication methods, intrinsically useful for planar structuring, have to be substituted or complemented with new approaches. In this paper we show how emerging techniques can be used for 3D structuring of noble metals down to nanoscale. In particular, the paper deals with electroless deposition of silver, ion and electron beam induced deposition, focused ion beam milling, and two-photon lithography. We exploited these techniques to fabricate different plasmonics nanolenses, nanoprobes and novel beads for optical tweezers. In the future these devices will be used for the manipulation and chemical investigation of single cells with sensitivity down to a few molecules in label free conditions and native environment. Although this paper is only devoted to nanofabrication, we foresee that the fields of biology and medicine will directly gain substantial advantages from this approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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