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Use of Reversal Nanoimprinting of Nanoparticles to Prepare Flexible Waveguide Sensors Exhibiting Enhanced Scattering of the Surface Plasmon Resonance



A flexible surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based scattering waveguide sensor is prepared by directly imprinting hollow gold nanoparticles (NPs) and solid gold NPs onto flexible polycarbonate (PC) plates—without any surface modification—using a modified reversal nanoimprint lithography technology. Controlling the imprinting conditions, including temperature and pressure, allows for the fine adjustment of the depths of the embedded metal NPs and their SPR properties. This patterning approach exhibits a resolution down to the submicrometer level. A 3D finite-difference time domain simulation is used to examine the optical behavior of light propagating parallel to the air/substrate interface within the near-field regime. Consistent with the simulations, almost an order of magnitude enhancement in the scattering signal after transferring the metal NPs from the glass mold to the PC substrate is obtained experimentally. The enhanced signal is attributed to the particles' strong scattering of the guiding-mode waves (within the waveguide) and the evanescent wave (above the waveguide) simultaneously. Finally, the imprinting conditions are optimized to obtain a strongly scattering bio/chemical waveguide sensor.