Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

On-chip single nanoparticle detection and sizing by mode splitting in an ultrahigh-Q microresonator

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 February 2010

This article has been updated

Abstract

The ability to detect and size individual nanoparticles with high resolution is crucial to understanding the behaviour of single particles and effectively using their strong size-dependent properties to develop innovative products. We report real-time, in situ detection and sizing of single nanoparticles, down to 30 nm in radius, using mode splitting in a monolithic ultrahigh-quality-factor (Q) whispering-gallery-mode microresonator. Particle binding splits a whispering-gallery mode into two spectrally shifted resonance modes, forming a self-referenced detection scheme. This technique provides superior noise suppression and enables the extraction of accurate particle size information with a single-shot measurement in a microscale device. Our method requires neither labelling of the particles nor a priori information on their presence in the medium, providing an effective platform to study nanoparticles at single-particle resolution.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Experimental set-up and coupled microtoroid cavity–nanoparticle system.
Figure 2: Transmission spectra and the amount of splitting versus number of deposited particles.
Figure 3: Illustration of mode splitting induced by a single nanoparticle in a microtoroid.
Figure 4: Single particle sizing using mode splitting (MS) in a microtoroid resonator.

Change history

  • 08 January 2010

    In the version of this Letter originally published, The scale bars of the scanning-electron microscope images in Fig. 1 were incorrect: the scale for Fig. 1a should have been 10 μm, and the scale for Fig. 1d should have been 5 μm. In Fig. 2b, the scale of the principal y-axis was incorrect and should have been x10−7. The unit of the y-axis for the inset figure remains as x10−8. These errors have been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions.

References

  1. O'Regan, B. & Grätzel, M. A low-cost, high-efficiency solar cell based on dye-sensitized colloidal TiO2 films. Nature 353, 737–740 (1991).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Alivisatos, P. The use of nanocrystals in biological detection. Nature Biotechnol. 22, 47–52 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Colvin, V. L. The potential environmental impact of engineered nanomaterials. Nature Biotechnol. 21, 1166–1170 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Hoet, P. H., Brüske-Hohlfeld, I. & Salata, O. V. Nanoparticles—known and unknown health risks. J. Nanobiotechnol. 2, 2–12 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Betzig, E., Trautmann, J. K., Harris, T. D., Weiner, J. S. & Kostelak, R. L. Breaking the diffraction barrier: optical microscopy on a nanometric scale. Science 251, 1468–1470 (1991).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Nie, S. M. & Emery, S. R. Probing single molecules and single nanoparticles by surface-enhanced Raman scattering. Science 275, 1102–1106 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Knollenberg, R. G. Measurement of latex particle sizes using scattering ratios in the Rayleigh scattering region. J. Aerosol Sci. 3, 331–345 (1989).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Szymanski, W. W., Nagy, A., Czitrovszky, A. & Jani, P. A new method for the simultaneous measurement of aerosol particle size, complex refractive index and particle density. Meas. Sci. Technol. 13, 303–307 (2002).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Vahala, K. J. Optical microcavities. Nature 424, 839–846 (2003).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Armani, D. K., Kippenberg, T. J., Spillane, S. M. & Vahala, K. J., Ultrahigh-Q toroid microcavity on a chip. Nature 421, 925–928 (2003).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Vollmer, F. & Arnold, S. Whispering-gallery-mode biosensing: label-free detection down to single molecules. Nature Meth. 5, 591–596 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Armani, A. M., Kulkarni, R. P., Fraser, S. E., Flagan, R. C. & Vahala, K. J. Label-free, single-molecule detection with optical microcavities. Science 317, 783–787 (2007).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Vollmer, F., Arnold, S. & Keng, D. Single virus detection from the reactive shift of a whispering-gallery mode. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 20701–20704 (2008).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. White, I. M., Oveys, H. & Fan, X. Liquid-core optical ring-resonator sensors. Opt. Lett. 31, 1319–1321 (2006).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Weiss, D. S. et al. Splitting of high-Q Mie modes induced by light backscattering in silica microspheres. Opt. Lett. 20, 1835–1837 (1995).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gorodetsky, M. L., Pryamikov, A. D. & Ilchenko, V. S. Rayleigh scattering in high-Q microspheres. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 17, 1051–1057 (2000).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Kippenberg, T. J., Spillane, S. M. & Vahala, K. J. Modal coupling in travelling-wave resonators. Opt. Lett. 27, 1669–1671 (2002).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Mazzei, A. et al. Controlled coupling of counterpropagating whispering-gallery modes by a single Rayleigh scatterer: a classical problem in a quantum optical light. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 173603 (2007).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Kippenberg, T. J., Tchebotareva, A. L., Kalkman, J., Polman, A. & Vahala, K. J. Purcell-factor-enhanced scattering from Si nanocrystals in an optical microcavity. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 027406 (2009).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Chantada, L., Nikolaev, N. I., Ivanov, A. L., Borri, P. & Langbein, W. Optical resonances in microcylinders: response to perturbations for biosensing. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 25, 1312–1321 (2008).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Arnold, S. et al. Whispering-gallery-mode carousel—a photonic mechanism for enhanced nanoparticle detection in biosensing. Opt. Express 17, 6230–6238 (2009).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Russell, L. M. & Ming, L. Deliquescence of small particles. J. Chem. Phys. 116, 311–321 (2002).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Friedlander, S. K. Smoke, Dust and Haze: Fundamentals of Aerosol Dynamics (Oxford Univ. Press, 2000).

    Google Scholar 

  24. Burg, T. P. et al. Weighing of biomolecules, single cells and single nanoparticles in fluid. Nature 446, 1066–1069 (2007).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by MAGEEP (McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership) and CMI (Center for Materials Innovation) at Washington University in St. Louis.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

J.Z., S.K.O., L.Y. and D.R.C. designed the experiments and discussed the results and implications. J.Z., S.K.O. and Y.F.X. contributed to the theoretical work. J.Z. conducted the experiments. L.L. and L.H. prepared materials for the experiments. L.Y. and Y.F.X. conceived the experiments. All authors contributed to the writing of the paper. L.Y. and D.R.C. supervised and coordinated the project.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lan Yang.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zhu, J., Ozdemir, S., Xiao, YF. et al. On-chip single nanoparticle detection and sizing by mode splitting in an ultrahigh-Q microresonator. Nature Photon 4, 46–49 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2009.237

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2009.237

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing