Polymer Single-Nanowire Optical Sensor
- Kimberly Annosha Sablon
© to the author 2008
Received: 10 October 2008
Accepted: 17 October 2008
Published: 7 November 2008
Although nanowires have attracted much interest in sensing applications, polymer single nanowires for optical sensing, which promises greater versatility and superior performances, remains unexplored. To date, most of these single nanowire devices have been focused on the electrical conductance change when exposed to the species. However, optical detection are highly desired owing to its advantages, such as fast response, immunity to electromagnetic interference, safe operation in explosive or combustive atmosphere, the possibility of remote monitoring through optical fibers.
Researchers in Zhejiang University, China, reported a novel approach to polymer single-nanowire optical sensors. The compact and flexible sensing scheme demonstrated may be attractive for very fast detection in physical, chemical, and biological applications with high sensitivity and small footprint.
Fuxing Gu and Professor Limin Tong who leads the Nanophotonics group at the Zhejiang University in China, together with coauthors from Department of Chemistry at Zhejiang University, report their most recent findings in an article titled “Polymer Single-Nanowire Optical Sensors” published online on August 2, 2008 in the journalNano Letters.
“When a weak stream of light is guided along a properly functionalized polymer nanowire, the light output is strongly and instantly dependent on the surrounding of the nanowire, making it ideal for high-sensitivity sensing with ultrafast response.” Prof. Tong explained the basic idea. “Polymer single nanowires for gas optical sensing are of great scientific interest and technological significance” Gu explains to Nanospotlight. “To use polymer single nanowires as optical gas sensors, two major challenges must be overcome: the fabrication of polymer single nanowires that are optically sensitive to specific specimens, and efficiently launching light into and picking signals up from the nanowire. First, we draw nanowires from polymer solutions doped or blended with functional materials that act as sensitive elements. Secondly, we employ an evanescent coupling technique for high-efficient optical launching and collection.”