Plasmonic Nanostructures for Biomedical Application

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Physics


Gold nanoparticles have great potential in biomedical applications because of their biocompatibility, accessibility, chemical functionality and unique optical properties arising from surface plasmon resonance. Plasmon resonance can confine light into a nanoscale volume, resulting in a local enhancement of electric field. This plasmon-mediated concentration of the electric field in the vicinity of metallic nanostructures can lead to enhanced luminescence, energy transfer and even lasing processes. This project aims to understand light-nanomaterial interactions in hybrid plasmonic systems and develop novel noble metal nanostructures for enhanced performance for biomedical sensing. This is a multidisciplinary project, involving state-of-the-art optical spectroscopy and nanofabrication at the interface of nanotechnology and healthcare.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509760/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2021
2031209 Studentship EP/N509760/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2021
Description This project aims to develop new plasmonic nanostructures based on gold nanorods, which can generate strong electromagnetic field, that can be used as amplifiers of fluorescence and catalysis for applications such as 'metal-enhanced fluorescence'. For this purpose, silica-coated nanostructures with gold nanorods as a core and silica shells of various morphologies, were designed. These designs allow to control the spatial distribution of fluorescent dyes within the plasmon field near the metal surface. However, the synthesis of anisotropic core/shell nanostructures is challenging and the growth mechanism is yet to be disclosed. To this end, we have systematically investigated the growth processes and identified the roles of individual reactants and reaction parameters on the morphology of silica coating. This study advanced the understanding of the growth mechanism and generated an optimized protocol that facilitates the production of anisotropic core/shell nanostructures of significantly increased yield. We have also carried out initial experiments that involved attaching fluorescent dyes to our nanostructures and were able to observe energy transfer between molecules of applied dyes and gold nanorods.
Exploitation Route The nanostructures developed in this study and the overall concept has a potential to improve the sensitivity and efficiency of biomedical imaging and sensing. Moreover, the understanding of anisotropic core/shell nanostructure growth and established new protocol will benefit the community in nanomaterials. We expect the knowledge on the metal-enhanced fluorescence process would generate a broad impact on developing new plasmonic structures for applications in healthcare, biosciences and photonic devices.
Sectors Chemicals,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology