R&D Mag – KU Leuven researcher Ventsislav Valev and an international team of colleagues have developed a new method for manipulating light at the nanoscale in order to optically detect single molecules.
Nanotechnology researchers around the world are exploring ways to optically detect single molecules, but progress can be hindered by the fact that single molecules have extremely weak optical responses. Thus far, scientists have developed a way to use metal nanostructures to focus light into tiny spots called ‘hotspots’. The hotspots excite electrons on the surface of the nanostructure, causing them to oscillate coherently. When shone on a molecule, and with the help of these oscillating electrons, the focused light can increase a molecule’s optical signal to 100 billion times its normal strength. This signal can then be detected with an optical microscope. more> http://tinyurl.com/ctmpfj7