A new 3D diamond plasmonic platform for SERS chemical sensing in the marine environment

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: London Centre for Nanotechnology


The realisation of devices that offer the ability to sense a range of chemicals / bio-chemicals within the marine environment with high sensitivity is a key enabling technology for many applications. If these devices can be enabled for remote communication even more potential applications are encountered. In terms of submarines, devices that monitor chemicals / bio-chemicals that encounter the hull would be of significant interest in terms of bio-fouling and corrosion studies, and devices that could detect marine bound chemicals as local signature of recent marine activity, either with devices on the hull, or trialled behind the boat could enhance detection and surveillance capabilities. Using the communication technologies often described as the 'internet of things' remotely deployed miniature sensors could enhance surveillance capability in the wider marine environment.
Diamond is a wide band gap semiconductor material with extreme electronic, optical, thermal, hardness and chemical properties. Not only does this make a diamond sensor platform the most suitable in terms of resilience in a marine environment, but diamond has also been shown to resist bio-fouling more than other materials. Diamond displays the highest 'electrochemical window' of any electrode material in water (the potential at which the redox breakdown of water occurs) meaning that diamond devices can operate at higher voltages than those made from conventional materials.
The PhD programme specifically involves: Growth and characterization of 3D diamond-CNT structures; plasmonic characterization of 3D diamond-CNT structures; development of SERS approach with 3D diamond-CNT structures; localization of 3D diamond-CNT arrays on 64-pixel MEAs; Surface functionlisation of 3D diamond-CNT structures for addition of linkers and species for selective sensing; evaluation of 3D platform SERS-based sensor in terms of sensitivity and selectivity; development of strategy for the realization of prototype devices.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512138/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2022
1905083 Studentship EP/R512138/1 26/09/2017 30/09/2021 Massimiliano Leo Ramsay