Nanostructured Titanium Nitride for Highly Sensitive Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensing

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Journal / PublicationCeramics International
Online published25 May 2020
Publication statusOnline published - 25 May 2020


Titanium nitride (TiN) as an alternative plasmonic ceramic material with superb properties including high hardness, outstanding corrosion resistance and excellent biocompatibility, has exhibited great potential for optical biochemical sensing applications. By sputtering about 35 nm–50 nm TiN on glass (f-TiN), the surface was found to provide sensing capability toward NaCl solution through the phenomenon of surface plasmon resonance. When the TiN film of about 27 nm–50 nm in thickness was sputtered onto a roughened glass surface (R–TiN), the sensing capability was improved. This was further improved when holes at nanoscale were created in the TiN film of about 19 nm–27 nm in thickness (NH–TiN). The roughened surface and nanohole patterns provided confinement of surface plasmons and significantly improved the sensitivity toward the local refractive index changes. In detail, the calculated refractive index resolution (RIR) of the optimal NH–TiN sensors for NaCl was found to be 9.5 × 10−8 refractive index unit (RIU), which had outperformed the f-TiN and R–TiN sensors. For biosensing, the optimized NH–TiN sensor was found to be capable to detect both small and large biomolecules, i.e. biotin (molecular weight of 244.3 g/mol) and human IgG (160,000 g/mol), in a label-free manner. Especially, the NH–TiN sensor significantly improved sensitivity in detecting small molecules due to the localized plasmonic confinement of electromagnetic field. Combining with the excellent mechanical and durability properties of TiN, the proposed NH–TiN can be a strong candidate for plasmonic biosensing applications.

Research Area(s)

  • Titanium nitride, plasmonic, nanoholes, direct functionalization, biosensor