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Detecting Single Gold Nanoparticles (1.8 nm) with Ultrahigh-Q Air-Mode Photonic Crystal Nanobeam Cavities

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Rowland Institute at Harvard University, 100 Edwin H. Land Boulevard, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, United States
Cite this: ACS Photonics 2015, 2, 12, 1692–1697
Publication Date (Web):November 25, 2015
Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    The growing applications of nanoparticles in energy and healthcare demand new metrology techniques with improved sensitivity, lower sample concentration, and affordable instrument cost. Here we demonstrate the first air-mode photonic crystal nanobeam cavity with ultrahigh Q-factor (Q = 2.5 × 105) and ultrasmall mode volume (V = 0.01λ3) at telecom wavelength. The air-mode cavity has strong field localization outside of its high-index material, thus significantly improving the sensitivity to detect nanoparticles. The strong field gradient attracts the nanoparticles to its field maximum, improving the detection efficiency. Combining these advantages, we report detecting and sizing single gold nanoparticles down to 1.8 nm in diameter (equivalently single polystyrene nanoparticle of 3 nm in diameter) with significantly reduced sample concentration (∼fM) than traditional optical techniques. In addition, the air-mode ultrahigh Q, ultrasmall V photonic crystal nanobeam cavity will be a useful platform to study strong light–matter interactions, nonlinear processes, and cavity quantum electrodynamics.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acsphotonics.5b00602.

    • Methods used in device fabrication, piezospray and electrospray setup, theoretical analysis of nanoparticle size detection and trapping effects in the piezospray and electrospray configurations (PDF)

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