Patent number 8649014 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Interferometry is one of the most sensitive optical interrogation methods and has been used in a wide array of technologies including astronomy, fiber optics, engineering metrology, quantum mechanics, plasma physics, remote sensing, and biomolecular interactions such as screening molecular interactions in surface binding modes. Several types of interferometry have been developed such as fluorescence interferometry for high resolution microscopy or nanoscopy, label-free sensing based on a Mach-Zehnder Interferometer, a Young Interferometer, a dual polarization interferometer, back-scattering interferometry, and spectral reflectance interferometry, to name a few.
"Surface Plasmons ('SPs') are coherent oscillations of conduction electrons on a metal surface excited by electromagnetic radiation at a metal-dielectric interface. The sensitivity of the Surface Plasmon Resonance ('SPR') to the refractive index change at a flat metal interface has led to the development of SPR sensing systems based on interferometry and that use prisms to couple light into a single surface-plasmon mode on a flat, continuous metal film (e.g., gold). However, the relatively large size of these experimental systems is a disadvantage for applications requiring integrated, low-cost, compact, image-based devices for portable, rapid bio-analytical measurements.
"Nanoplasmonic biosensors, employing nanoscale metal particles, provide an attractive miniaturized platform for sensitive, label-free monitoring of cellular processes. When receptor molecules are immobilized on the nanostructured metal surface, the binding of target biomolecules changes the local refractive index, which affects the optical properties of the SP modes and permits optical detection. Recent advances in nanofabrication, nanomaterial synthesis, and nanocharacterization permit significant advances over conventional SPR evanescent wave-based biosensors, whose large size limits their effectiveness for probing nanovolumes and single cells, and for integration into microfluidic platforms. However, the sensitivities for these nanoplasmonic structures are much lower (two to three orders of magnitude) than other sensitive optical sensing technologies."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "An optical device is disclosed that includes first and second optical branches. The first optical branch is formed at an interface between a first substrate and a second substrate, and the second optical branch is formed at an interface between the second substrate and an ambient medium. The second substrate defines first and second spaced apart slits that are each coupled to the first and second optical branches. The first slit is configured to receive at least partially coherent light from a light source and in response excite at least one surface plasmon polariton mode in each of the first and second optical branches. The second slit is configured to combine the surface plasmon polariton modes received from the first and second optical branches and emit scattered light into at least one of the first substrate and the ambient medium.
"Also disclosed is an optical device that includes a first substrate having opposed first and second surfaces. The first substrate is configured to transmit light received at the first surface to the second surface. A second substrate has opposed third and fourth surfaces with the third surface of the second substrate disposed on the second surface of the first substrate to define a first interface. The fourth surface of the second substrate defines a second interface with an ambient medium, and the second substrate defines spaced apart first and second slits that extend from the third surface to the fourth surface. The first slit is configured to excite at least one first surface plasmon polariton mode along a first optical transmission path defined by the first interface and at least one second surface plasmon polariton mode along a second optical transmission path defined by the second interface in response to receiving the light through the first substrate. The second slit is configured to combine the at least one first and second surface plasmon polariton modes received from the first slit and emit scattered light into one of the first substrate and the ambient medium.
"A method is also disclosed in which at least partially coherent light is received at a first surface of a first substrate, and the at least partially coherent light is transmitted from the first surface of the first substrate to a second surface of the first substrate. At least one first surface plasmon polariton mode is excited along a first optical transmission path defined by an interface of the first substrate and a second substrate in response to receiving the partially coherent light at a first slit defined by the second substrate, and at least one second surface plasmon polariton mode is excited along a second optical transmission path defined by an interface of the second substrate and a surrounding medium in response to receiving the partially coherent light at the first slit. The at least one first and second surface plasmon polariton modes are combined at a second slit defined by the second substrate, and light is scattered into at least one of the first substrate and the ambient medium."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Gan, Qiaoqiang; Bartoli,
Keywords for this news article include: Technology,
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