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Large Area Photonic Crystal Chemical Sensors

Final Report Summary - PHOTOSENS (Large Area Photonic Crystal Chemical Sensors)

Executive Summary:

Polymers have become an important material group in fabricating discrete photonic components and integrated optical devices. This is due to their good properties: high optical transmittance, versatile processability at relative low temperatures and potential for low-cost production. Recently, nanoimprinting or nanoimprint lithography (NIL) has obtained a plenty of research interest. In NIL, a mould is pressed against a substrate coated with a moldable material. After deformation of the material, the mold is separated and a replica of the mold is formed. Compared with conventional lithographic methods, imprinting is simple to carry out, requires less-complicated equipment and can provide high-resolution with high throughput. Nanoimprint lithography has shown potential to become a method for low-cost and high-throughput fabrication of nanostructures.

We show the development process of nano-structured, large-area multi-parameter sensors using Photonic Crystal (PC) and Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) methodologies for environmental and pharmaceutical applications. We address these challenges by developing roll-to-roll (R2R) UV-nanoimprint fabrication methods. Our development steps are the following: Firstly, the proof of concept structures are fabricated by the use of wafer-level processes in Si-based materials. Secondly, the master molds of successful designs are fabricated, and they are used to transfer the nanophotonic structures into polymer materials using sheet-level UV-nanoimprinting. Thirdly, the sheet-level nanoimprinting processes are transferred to roll-to-roll fabrication. In order to enhance roll-to-roll manufacturing capabilities, silicone-based polymer material development was carried out. In the different development phases, Photonic Crystal and SERS sensor structures with increasing complexities were fabricated using polymer materials in order to enhance sheet-level and roll-to-roll manufacturing processes. In addition, chemical and molecular imprint (MIP) functionalization methods were applied in the sensor demonstrators. In this paper, the process flow in fabricating large-area nanophotonic structures by the use of sheet-level and roll-to-roll UV- nanoimprinting is reported. In the PHOTOSENS project, three different sensing platforms were developed: Roll-to-roll printed free-form SERS platform, Photonic Crystal sensor platform and printed waveguide sensor platform. Main results are reported in this summary report.

Project Context and Objectives:

We develop methods for high-throughput manufacturing of nanophotonic sensor structures using polymer materials with roll-to-roll UV-imprinting. Currently, utilization of nanophotonic sensor structures is hindered by the lack of low-cost and, highly reproducibility fabrication methods for nano-structured surfaces. The objective is to develop materials and processing of low-cost, mass-manufacturable, nano-structured, large-area multi-parameter sensors applying Photonic Crystal (PC) and enhanced Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) methodologies for environmental and pharmaceutical applications. Scientific work includes development of the nanophotonic sensor structure, nanoimprint materials for large-area, high-throughput fabrication, functionalized molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) and mass-manufacturing methods including R2R nanoimprint processes for nano-texturing of large-area plastic films.

Project Results:

Three different sensing platforms were developed in the PHOTOSENS project: Roll-to-roll printed free-form SERS platform, Photonic Crystal sensor platform and printed waveguide sensor platform. Main results are reported in this summary report. The sensor systems were targeting to air quality applications when using Photonic Crystal sensing platform and to pharmaceutical cleanliness and food safety application when using SERS sensor platform.

Potential Impact:

5.1.1 Infotech Infotech Workshop 2011 on Optoelectronic Devices and Instrumentation XIl, 2011, Oulu

First PHOTOSENS public lectures were given in connection with Finnish Optics Days on 9th to 11th May, 2011, in Oulu, Finland. Prof. Risto Myllylä, the University of Oulu, organized the Infotech Workshop 2011 on Optoelectronic Devices and Instrumentation XI. In the workshop, Martin Charlton, SOTON, gave a lecture on Nanophotonics and Darren Bagnall, SOTON, on Photovoltaics. The Workshop was open for students outside the consortium, also. Approximately 15 students were following the lectures.

5.1.2 M6 technical tutorial, Eindhoven

At the PHOTOSENS Month M6 meeting on 28th June 2011, in Eindhoven, an internal short course will be given by Martin Charlton and Peter Lieberzeit on Nanophotonics and Molecular imprinting, respectively. Martin’s tutorial was entitled Nanophotonics and Peter’s Molecular imprinting. The tutorials were open for PHOTOSENS partners. Total number of 22 persons attended the tutorial session. The material is available attached with the TMT M6 memo.

5.1.3 Materials tutorial (M18), Kuopio Finland

Thorsten Felder gave an internal tutorial on silicone materials in the M18 meeting in Kuopio on 1st August 2012.

5.1.4 Visit to Nanocomp factory, 2012, Joensuu

In connection with the PHOTOSENS Month 18 meeting, we organized for PHOTOSENS partners a visit to Nanocomp factory in Joensuu. In the factory hall, we were able to see the tools available at Nanocomp for roll-to-roll UV imprinting and post processing of optical micro- and nanostructures. In addition, PHOTOSENS tools and printed SERS structures were introduced.

5.1.5 M30 meeting 3D AG, 2013, Baar

The PHOTOSENS M24 meeting did not see any directly training-related activities, because at that stage consortium partners were already informed about the basic techniques and focused on the technical progress in a critical phase of the project. However, the M30 meeting at 3DAG introduced partners into the concept of using nanotechnology as optical security feature and hence into the mass production of holographic structures that among others can serve for proving authenticity of products.

5.1.6 SENSE’13 Seminar, 2013, Espoo

VTT organized a customer seminar on sensing technologies and applications, SENSE’13, in Espoo. The PHOTOSENS partners and IUG members were encouraged to attend the seminar. In the seminar, David Eustace, RDL, gave an invited talk about SERS applications. He introduced PHOTOSENS project, also, and made an invitation for SENSE’13 participants to attend the 3rd IUG meeting of PHOTSENS that was organized after the SENSE’13 seminar. A flier showing project’s results was distributed in the seminar, also. The flier is available on the PHOTOSENS public website,

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