Nanogap-enhanced infrared spectroscopy with template-stripped wafer-scale arrays of buried plasmonic cavities

Xiaoshu Chen, Cristian Ciracì, David R. Smith, Sang Hyun Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


We have combined atomic layer lithography and template stripping to produce a new class of substrates for surface-enhanced infrared absorption (SEIRA) spectroscopy. Our structure consists of a buried and U-shaped metal-insulator-metal waveguide whose folded vertical arms efficiently couple normally incident light. The insulator is formed by atomic layer deposition (ALD) of Al2O3 and precisely defines the gap size. The buried nanocavities are protected from contamination by a silicon template until ready for use and exposed by template stripping on demand. The exposed nanocavity generates strong infrared resonances, tightly confines infrared radiation into a gap that is as small as 3 nm (λ/3300), and creates a dense array of millimeter-long hotspots. After partial removal of the insulators, the gaps are backfilled with benzenethiol molecules, generating distinct Fano resonances due to strong coupling with gap plasmons, and a SEIRA enhancement factor of 105 is observed for a 3 nm gap. Because of the wafer-scale manufacturability, single-digit-nanometer control of the gap size via ALD, and long-term storage enabled by template stripping, our buried plasmonic nanocavity substrates will benefit broad applications in sensing and spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 14 2015


  • Fano resonance
  • Surface-enhanced infrared absorption (SEIRA)
  • atomic layer deposition
  • gap plasmon
  • nanocavity
  • nanogap
  • surface plasmon
  • template stripping

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