AFM imaging and plasmonic detection of organic thin-films deposited on nanoantenna arrays

Jharna Paul*, Scott G. McMeekin, Richard M. De La Rue, Nigel P. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging has been used to reveal the preferential deposition of organic thin-films on patterned nanoantenna array surfaces - identifying the localised formation of both monolayer and multilayer films of octadecanethiol (ODT) molecules, depending on the concentration of the solutions used. Reliable identification of this selective deposition process has been demonstrated for the first time, to our knowledge. Organic thin-films, in particular films of ODT molecules, were deposited on plasmonic resonator surfaces through a chemi-sorption process - using different solution concentrations and immersion times. The nanoantennas based on gold asymmetric-split ring resonator (A-SRR) geometries were fabricated on zinc selenide (ZnSe) substrates using electron-beam lithography and the lift-off technique. Use of the plasmonic resonant-coupling technique has enabled the detection of ODT molecules deposited from a dilute, micromolar (1 μM) solution concentration - with attomole sensitivity of deposited material per A-SRR – a value that is three orders of magnitude lower in concentration than previously reported. Additionally, on resonance, the amplitude of the molecular vibrational resonance peaks is typically an order of magnitude larger than that for the non-resonant coupling. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy shows molecule specific spectral responses – with magnitudes corresponding to the different film thicknesses deposited on the resonator surfaces. The experimental results are supported by numerical simulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalSensors and Actuators A: Physical
Early online date24 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018


  • AFM imaging
  • atomic force microscopy
  • nanoantenna array surfaces
  • spectroscopy and sensing


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