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ACS Nano. 2016 Aug 23;10(8):7639-45. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.6b02903. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

Spontaneous Self-Formation of 3D Plasmonic Optical Structures.

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Department of Life Science, University of Seoul , Seoul 130-743, Republic of Korea.


Self-formation of colloidal oil droplets in water or water droplets in oil not only has been regarded as fascinating fundamental science but also has been utilized in an enormous number of applications in everyday life. However, the creation of three-dimensional (3D) architectures by a liquid droplet and an immiscible liquid interface has been less investigated than other applications. Here, we report interfacial energy-driven spontaneous self-formation of a 3D plasmonic optical structure at room temperature without an external force. Based on the densities and interfacial energies of two liquids, we simulated the spontaneous formation of a plasmonic optical structure when a water droplet containing metal ions meets an immiscible liquid polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) interface. At the interface, the metal ions in the droplet are automatically reduced to form an interfacial plasmonic layer as the liquid PDMS cures. The self-formation of both an optical cavity and integrated plasmonic nanostructure significantly enhances the fluorescence by a magnitude of 1000. Our findings will have a huge impact on the development of various photonic and plasmonic materials as well as metamaterials and devices.


interfacial energy; liquid droplets; nanoparticles; plasmonic optical cavity; plasmonic optical structures; self-formation


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