State-of-the-art lithography technology and self-organization methods are used in the research and production of complex functional micro- and nanostructures for detectors, plasmonic structures, microfluidic lab- on-a-chip systems, micro- and nano-optical components, and photonic systems.
Chip-based plasmonically active surfaces for bio- and chemosensory applications are composed of artificial, usually periodic metal structures. The size of the structures lies far below the wavelength of visible light. They are often smaller than 100 nanometers and have lattice periods as low as 100 nanometers. The Vistec SB 350 OS electron-beam exposure system operates according to the principle of the “variable shape beam.” It is available on the Beutenberg Campus and is used by the Fraunhofer Institute (the facility’s location), the Institute for Applied Physics at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, and the Leibniz-IPHT. As a technology that augments character projection, it is also virtually unique on the research scene.
They are an integral part of high-sensitivity temperature sensors and new ultrafast single-photon detectors. Alternatively, they serve as a protective coating for nanostructures: just a few nanometers thin layers of aluminum nitride, niobium nitride, aluminum oxide, titanium dioxide, or silicon dioxide. With atomic layer deposition (ALD), these ultra-thin layers can be deposited on surfaces evenly and virtually without defect.
Top-down and bottom-up processes enable the production of nanoscale silicon, whose chemical-physical properties differ from those of the macroscopic solid. The technologies established at Leibniz IPHT for the production of silicon nanowires are resulting in the emergence of new applications beyond photovoltaics. The range of applications extends from biophotonic nanostructures for use in medicine and health technology to new sensor and detector materials for basic research. Modern nano- and microtechnology are available at Leibniz IPHT for the production of uniformly structured nanowire arrays, nanoparticles, and dense carpets made of monocrystalline silicon wires.
Microfluidics offers a wide range of technological solutions for combining modern spectroscopic and optical methods with a compact chip platform. Microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems (LOC) are already supplementing time-consuming, expensive routine laboratory procedures and ensuring on-site analysis and diagnosis independent of the need for a specific laboratory infrastructure.
With customized metallic nanoparticles, scientists can now accurately control the position of localized surface plasmons and their interaction with light. As optical markers for biomolecules, signal transducers in sensor technology, or optical antennae, plasmonically active nanoparticles provide an outstanding means for the solution of bioanalytical questions.