Laser tailored nanoparticle arrays to detect molecules at dilute concentration

Chiara Zanchi, Andrea Lucotti, Matteo Tommasini, Sebastiano Trusso, Ugo de Grazia, Emilio Ciusani, Paolo M. Ossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By nanosecond pulsed laser ablation in an ambient gas gold nanoparticles (NPs) were produced that self-assemble on a substrate resulting in increasingly elaborated architectures of growing thickness, from isolated NP arrays up to percolated films. NPs nucleate and grow in the plasma plume propagating through the gas. Process parameters including laser wavelength, laser energy density, target to substrate distance, nature and pressure of the gas affect plasma expansion, thus asymptotic NP size and kinetic energy. NP size, energy and mobility at landing determine film growth and morphology that affect the physico-chemical properties of the film. Keeping fixed the other process parameters, we discuss the sensitive dependence of film surface nanostructure on Ar pressure and on laser pulse number. The initial plume velocity and average ablated mass per pulse allow predicting the asymptotic NP size. The control of growth parameters favors fine-tuning of NP aggregation, relevant to plasmonics to get optimized substrates for surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Their behavior is discussed for testing conditions of interest for clinical application. Both in aqueous and in biological solutions we obtained good sensitivity and reproducibility of the SERS signals for the anti-Parkinson drug apomorphine, and for the anti-epilepsy drug carbamazepine.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Nov 3 2015


  • Apomorphine
  • Au nanoparticles
  • Carbamazepine
  • DFT
  • Pulsed laser deposition
  • Self-assembled nano-roughened films
  • SERS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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