Tuesday, December 30, 2008

US Patent 7471388 - Tunable nanoparticle resonator


Metal nanoparticles are very useful for molecular analysis techniques such as Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. This patent from the University of Central Florida teaches using a silicon cantilever as a tuning mechanism to adjust the responsiveness of the metal nanoparticles to different wavelengths. Claim 1 reads:

1. A frequency tunable resonant apparatus comprising:

a top substrate and a bottom substrate separated by a distance;

a nanostructure having a diameter smaller than an excitation wavelength of the nanostructure; and

a movable silicon cantilever in a vicinity of said nanostructure between said top and said bottom substrate, wherein a plasmon resonance of said nanostructure is tuned to several different excitation wavelengths according to a proximity of said movable silicon cantilever to said nanostructure enabling the detection of several species with said nanostructure.