The optical properties of metal nanoparticles, particularly their localized surface plasmon effects, are well established. These plasmonic nanoparticles can respond to their surroundings or even influence the optical processes (for example, absorption, fluorescence and Raman scattering) of molecules located at their surface. As a result, plasmonic nanoparticles have been developed for multiple purposes, ranging from the detection of chemicals and biological molecules to light-harvesting enhancement in solar cells. By dispersing the nanoparticles in polymers and creating a hybrid material, the robustness, responsiveness and flexibility of the system are enhanced while preserving the intrinsic properties of the nanoparticles. In this Review, we discuss the fabrication and applications of plasmonic polymer nanocomposites, focusing on applications in optical data storage, sensing and imaging and photothermal gels for in vivo therapy. Within the nanocomposites, the nanoporosity of the matrix, the overall mechanical stability and the dispersion of the nanoparticles are important parameters for achieving the best performance. In the future, translation of these materials into commercial products rests on the ability to scale up the production of plasmonic polymer nanocomposites with tailored optical features.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Additional information

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Seagate: www.seagate.com/es/es/our-story/data-age-2025


  1. 1.

    Mulvaney, P. Surface plasmon spectroscopy of nanosized metal particles. Langmuir 12, 788–800 (1996).

  2. 2.

    Kelly, K. L., Coronado, E., Zhao, L. L. & Schatz, G. C. The optical properties of metal nanoparticles: the influence of size, shape, and dielectric environment. J. Phys. Chem. B 107, 668–677 (2003).

  3. 3.

    Ghosh, S. K. & Pal, T. Interparticle coupling effect on the surface plasmon resonance of gold nanoparticles: from theory to applications. Chem. Rev. 107, 4797–4862 (2007).

  4. 4.

    Rahim, F. A. & Dong-Hwan, K. Nanoparticle polymer composites on solid substrates for plasmonic sensing applications. Nano Today 11, 415–434 (2016).

  5. 5.

    Liz-Marzan, L. M. Tailoring surface plasmons through the morphology and assembly of metal nanoparticles. Langmuir 22, 32–41 (2006).

  6. 6.

    Bohren, C. F. & Huffman, D. R. Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles (Wiley-VCH Verlag, 1998).

  7. 7.

    Myroshnychenko, V. et al. Modelling the optical response of gold nanoparticles. Chem. Soc. Rev. 37, 1792–1805 (2008).

  8. 8.

    Zhang, C. L. et al. Highly stimuli-responsive Au nanorods/poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) composite hydrogel for smart switch. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 9, 24857–24863 (2017).

  9. 9.

    Jain, P. K., Huang, X. H., El-Sayed, I. H. & El-Sayed, M. A. Noble metals on the nanoscale: optical and photothermal properties and some applications in imaging, sensing, biology, and medicine. Acc. Chem. Res. 41, 1578–1586 (2008).

  10. 10.

    Jain, P. K., Lee, K. S., El-Sayed, I. H. & El-Sayed, M. A. Calculated absorption and scattering properties of gold nanoparticles of different size, shape, and composition: applications in biological imaging and biomedicine. J. Phys. Chem. B 110, 7238–7248 (2006).

  11. 11.

    Abadeer, N. S. & Murphy, C. J. Recent progress in cancer thermal therapy using gold nanoparticles. J. Phys. Chem. C 120, 4691–4716 (2016).

  12. 12.

    Wang, Y. F. & Kohane, D. S. External triggering and triggered targeting strategies for drug delivery. Nat. Rev. Mater. 2, 17020 (2017).

  13. 13.

    Sutton, A. et al. Photothermally triggered actuation of hybrid materials as a new platform for in vitro cell manipulation. Nat. Commun. 8, 14700 (2017). This study describes the development of an advanced nanostructured material that offers a new methodology to mechanically perturb cells.

  14. 14.

    Baffou, G. & Quidant, R. Nanoplasmonics for chemistry. Chem. Soc. Rev. 43, 3898–3907 (2014).

  15. 15.

    Syed, A. M. et al. Three-dimensional imaging of transparent tissues via metal nanoparticle labeling. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 9961–9971 (2017).

  16. 16.

    Sepulveda, B., Angelome, P. C., Lechuga, L. M. & Liz-Marzan, L. M. LSPR-based nanobiosensors. Nano Today 4, 244–251 (2009).

  17. 17.

    Cialla-May, D., Zheng, X. S., Weber, K. & Popp, J. Recent progress in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for biological and biomedical applications: from cells to clinics. Chem. Soc. Rev. 46, 3945–3961 (2017).

  18. 18.

    Wang, Z. Y. et al. SERS-activated platforms for immunoassay: probes, encoding methods, and applications. Chem. Rev. 117, 7910–7963 (2017).

  19. 19.

    Zhang, S. D. et al. Synthesis, assembly, and applications of hybrid nanostructures for biosensing. Chem. Rev. 117, 12942–13038 (2017).

  20. 20.

    Olson, J. et al. Vivid, full-color aluminum plasmonic pixels. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 14348–14353 (2014).

  21. 21.

    James, T. D., Mulvaney, P. & Roberts, A. The plasmonic pixel: large area, wide gamut color reproduction using aluminum nanostructures. Nano Lett. 16, 3817–3823 (2016).

  22. 22.

    Thoniyot, P. et al. Nanoparticle–hydrogel composites: concept, design, and applications of these promising, multi-functional materials. Adv. Sci. 2, 1400010 (2015).

  23. 23.

    Paul, D. R. & Robeson, L. M. Polymer nanotechnology: nanocomposites. Polymer 49, 3187–3204 (2008).

  24. 24.

    Heilmann, A. Polymer Films with Embedded Metal Nanoparticles (Springer, 2003).

  25. 25.

    Willner, I. Stimuli-controlled hydrogels and their applications. Acc. Chem. Res. 50, 657–658 (2017).

  26. 26.

    Wei, M. L., Gao, Y. F., Li, X. & Serpe, M. J. Stimuli-responsive polymers and their applications. Polym. Chem. 8, 127–143 (2017).

  27. 27.

    Urban, D. A. et al. Plasmonic nanoparticles and their characterization in physiological fluids. Colloids Surf. B 137, 39–49 (2016).

  28. 28.

    Hirsch, V. et al. Surface charge of polymer coated SPIONs influences the serum protein adsorption, colloidal stability and subsequent cell interaction in vitro. Nanoscale 5, 3723–3732 (2013).

  29. 29.

    Hirsch, V. et al. In vitro dosimetry of agglomerates. Nanoscale 6, 7325–7331 (2014).

  30. 30.

    Klajn, R., Wesson, P. J., Bishop, K. J. M. & Grzybowski, B. A. Writing self-erasing images using metastable nanoparticle “inks”. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 48, 7035–7039 (2009).

  31. 31.

    Kundu, P. K. et al. Light-controlled self-assembly of non-photoresponsive nanoparticles. Nat. Chem. 7, 646–652 (2015). This paper is the first description of the assembly of non-photoresponsive plasmonic nanoparticles with pH-sensitive ligands in a photoresponsive polymer.

  32. 32.

    Xerox Corp. Dual-layer protected transient document. US Patent 7432027B2 (2008).

  33. 33.

    Klajn, R., Bishop, K. J. M. & Grzybowski, B. A. Light-controlled self-assembly of reversible and irreversible nanoparticle suprastructures. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 104, 10305–10309 (2007).

  34. 34.

    Ditlbacher, H. et al. Spectrally coded optical data storage by metal nanoparticles. Opt. Lett. 25, 563–565 (2000).

  35. 35.

    Kamat, P. V., Flumiani, M. & Hartland, G. V. Picosecond dynamics of silver nanoclusters. Photoejection of electrons and fragmentation. J. Phys. Chem. B 102, 3123–3128 (1998).

  36. 36.

    Hu, M. & Hartland, G. V. Heat dissipation for Au particles in aqueous solution: relaxation time versus size. J. Phys. Chem. B 106, 7029–7033 (2002).

  37. 37.

    Link, S. et al. Laser Photothermal melting and fragmentation of gold nanorods: energy and laser pulse-width dependence. J. Phys. Chem. A 103, 1165–1170 (1999).

  38. 38.

    Taylor, A. B., Siddiquee, A. M. & Chon, J. W. M. Below melting point photothermal reshaping of single gold nanorods driven by surface diffusion. ACS Nano 8, 12071–12079 (2014).

  39. 39.

    Pérez-Juste, J., Rodríguez-González, B., Mulvaney, P. & Liz-Marzán, L. M. Optical control and patterning of gold-nanorod–poly(vinyl alcohol) nanocomposite films. Adv. Funct. Mater. 15, 1065–1071 (2005).

  40. 40.

    Wilson, O., Wilson, G. J. & Mulvaney, P. Laser writing in polarized silver nanorod films. Adv. Mater. 14, 1000–1004 (2002).

  41. 41.

    Zijlstra, P., Chon, J. W. M. & Gu, M. Five-dimensional optical recording mediated by surface plasmons in gold nanorods. Nature 459, 410–413 (2009). This study is the first demonstration of 5D data recording within the spectral response of plasmonic Au nanorods embedded in polymer films.

  42. 42.

    DeSantis, C. J. et al. Laser-induced spectral hole-burning through a broadband distribution of Au nanorods. J. Phys. Chem. C 120, 20518–20524 (2016).

  43. 43.

    Taylor, A. B., Chow, T. T. Y. & Chon, J. W. M. Alignment of gold nanorods by angular photothermal depletion. App. Phys. Lett. 104, 083118 (2014).

  44. 44.

    Taylor, A. B., Michaux, P., Mohsin, A. S. M. & Chon, J. W. M. Electron-beam lithography of plasmonic nanorod arrays for multilayered optical storage. Opt. Express 22, 13234–13243 (2014).

  45. 45.

    Taylor, A. B. & Chon, J. W. M. Angular photothermal depletion of randomly oriented gold nanorods for polarization-controlled multilayered optical storage. Adv. Opt. Mater. 3, 695–703 (2015).

  46. 46.

    Taylor, A. B., Kim, J. & Chon, J. W. M. Detuned surface plasmon resonance scattering of gold nanorods for continuous wave multilayered optical recording and readout. Opt. Express 20, 5069–5081 (2012).

  47. 47.

    Panchenko, E., Cadusch, J. J., James, T. D. & Roberts, A. Plasmonic metasurface-enabled differential photodetectors for broadband optical polarization characterization. ACS Photonics 3, 1833–1839 (2016).

  48. 48.

    Ren, H. R., Li, X. P., Zhang, Q. M. & Gu, M. On-chip noninterference angular momentum multiplexing of broadband light. Science 352, 805–809 (2016).

  49. 49.

    Challener, W. A. et al. Heat-assisted magnetic recording by a near-field transducer with efficient optical energy transfer. Nat. Photonics 3, 220–224 (2009).

  50. 50.

    Zhang, Q. M., Xia, Z. L., Cheng, Y. B. & Gu, M. High-capacity optical long data memory based on enhanced Young’s modulus in nanoplasmonic hybrid glass composites. Nat. Commun. 9, 1183 (2018).

  51. 51.

    Gu, M., Li, X. P. & Cao, Y. Y. Optical storage arrays: a perspective for future big data storage. Light Sci. Appl. 3, e177 (2014).

  52. 52.

    Zhang, P. et al. Super-resolution of fluorescence-free plasmonic nanoparticles using enhanced dark-field illumination based on wavelength-modulation. Sci. Rep. 5, 11447 (2015).

  53. 53.

    Chu, S. W. et al. Measurement of a saturated emission of optical radiation from gold nanoparticles: application to an ultrahigh resolution microscope. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 117402 (2014).

  54. 54.

    Willets, K. A., Wilson, A. J., Sundaresan, V. & Joshi, P. B. Super-resolution imaging and plasmonics. Chem. Rev. 117, 7538–7582 (2017).

  55. 55.

    Mulvaney, P. et al. Direct assembly of large area nanoparticle arrays. ACS Nano 12, 7529–7537 (2018). This paper describes the use of electrophoretic deposition to fabricate large arrays of single plasmonic nanoparticles, enabling their manufacturing for optical data storage applications.

  56. 56.

    Kinnear, C. et al. Directed chemical assembly of single and clustered nanoparticles with silanized templates. Langmuir 34, 7355–7363 (2018).

  57. 57.

    Wang, Y. H. et al. Controlling the shape, orientation, and linkage of carbon nanotube features with nano affinity templates. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 103, 2026–2031 (2006).

  58. 58.

    Nepal, D. et al. Control over position, orientation, and spacing of arrays of gold nanorods using chemically nanopatterned surfaces and tailored particle-particle-surface interactions. ACS Nano 6, 5693–5701 (2012).

  59. 59.

    Flauraud, V. et al. Nanoscale topographical control of capillary assembly of nanoparticles. Nat. Nanotechnol. 12, 73–80 (2017).

  60. 60.

    Hamon, C. et al. Hierarchical self-assembly of gold nanoparticles into patterned plasmonic nanostructures. ACS Nano 8, 10694–10703 (2014).

  61. 61.

    Malaquin, L. et al. Controlled particle placement through convective and capillary assembly. Langmuir 23, 11513–11521 (2007).

  62. 62.

    Pinedo Rivera, T. et al. Assisted convective-capillary force assembly of gold colloids in a microfluidic cell: plasmonic properties of deterministic nanostructures. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 26, 2513–2519 (2008).

  63. 63.

    Fu, S. C. et al. Blu-ray-sensitive localized surface plasmon resonance for high-density optical memory. Sci. Rep. 6, 36701 (2016).

  64. 64.

    Montelongo, Y. et al. Plasmonic nanoparticle scattering for color holograms. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 12679–12683 (2014).

  65. 65.

    Li, X. et al. Multicolor 3D meta-holography by broadband plasmonic modulation. Sci. Adv. 2, e1601102 (2016).

  66. 66.

    Hansen, P. M., Bhatia, V. K., Harrit, N. & Oddershede, L. Expanding the optical trapping range of gold nanoparticles. Nano Lett. 5, 1937–1942 (2005).

  67. 67.

    Svoboda, K. & Block, S. M. Optical trapping of metallic Rayleigh particles. Opt. Lett. 19, 930–932 (1994).

  68. 68.

    Yetisen, A. K., Montelongo, Y. & Butt, H. Rewritable three-dimensional holographic data storage via optical forces. Appl. Phys. Lett. 109, 061106 (2016).

  69. 69.

    Montelongo, Y., Yetisen, A. K., Butt, H. & Yun, S. H. Reconfigurable optical assembly of nanostructures. Nat. Commun. 7, 12002 (2016). This paper describes a relatively simple and fast process to record holographic images in the 3D position of Ag nanoparticles in polymer films through the interference light reflected off an object.

  70. 70.

    Ament, I. et al. Single unlabeled protein detection on individual plasmonic nanoparticles. Nano Lett. 12, 1092–1095 (2012).

  71. 71.

    Haes, A. J. & Van Duyne, R. P. A nanoscale optical blosensor: Sensitivity and selectivity of an approach based on the localized surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy of triangular silver nanoparticles. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 124, 10596–10604 (2002).

  72. 72.

    Gupta, S. et al. Immobilization of silver nanoparticles on responsive polymer brushes. Macromolecules 41, 2874–2879 (2008).

  73. 73.

    Lee, S. & Pérez-Luna, V. H. Surface-grafted hybrid material consisting of gold nanoparticles and dextran exhibits mobility and reversible aggregation on a surface. Langmuir 23, 5097–5099 (2007).

  74. 74.

    Hu, M. et al. Dark-field microscopy studies of single metal nanoparticles: understanding the factors that influence the linewidth of the localized surface plasmon resonance. J. Mater. Chem. 18, 1949–1960 (2008).

  75. 75.

    Collins, S. S. E. et al. Single gold nanorod charge modulation in an ion gel device. Nano Lett. 16, 6863–6869 (2016).

  76. 76.

    Wang, P. et al. Polymer nanofibers embedded with aligned gold nanorods: a new platform for plasmonic studies and optical sensing. Nano Lett. 12, 3145–3150 (2012).

  77. 77.

    Bukasov, R. & Shumaker-Parry, J. S. Highly tunable infrared extinction properties of gold nanocrescents. Nano Lett. 7, 1113–1118 (2007).

  78. 78.

    Jiang, H., Markowski, J. & Sabarinathan, J. Near-infrared optical response of thin film pH-sensitive hydrogel coated on a gold nanocrescent array. Opt. Express 17, 21802–21807 (2009).

  79. 79.

    Zijlstra, P., Paulo, P. M. R. & Orrit, M. Optical detection of single non-absorbing molecules using the surface plasmon resonance of a gold nanorod. Nat. Nanotechnol. 7, 379–382 (2012). This study reports how a Au nanorod can detect single molecules by using shifts in the LSPR of the nanorod.

  80. 80.

    Mesch, M., Zhang, C. J., Braun, P. V. & Giessen, H. Functionalized hydrogel on plasmonic nanoantennas for noninvasive glucose sensing. ACS Photonics 2, 475–480 (2015).

  81. 81.

    Yetisen, A. K. et al. Light-directed writing of chemically tunable narrow-band holographic sensors. Adv. Opt. Mater. 2, 250–254 (2014).

  82. 82.

    Yetisen, A. K. et al. Reusable, robust, and accurate laser-generated photonic nanosensor. Nano Lett. 14, 3587–3593 (2014).

  83. 83.

    Kozlovskaya, V. et al. Ultrathin layer-by-layer hydrogels with incorporated gold nanorods as pH-sensitive optical materials. Chem. Mater. 20, 7474–7485 (2008).

  84. 84.

    Endo, T., Ikeda, R., Yanagida, Y. & Hatsuzawa, T. Stimuli-responsive hydrogel–silver nanoparticles composite for development of localized surface plasmon resonance-based optical biosensor. Anal. Chim. Acta 611, 205–211 (2008).

  85. 85.

    Saa, L., Coronado-Puchau, M., Pavlov, V. & Liz-Marzan, L. M. Enzymatic etching of gold nanorods by horseradish peroxidase and application to blood glucose detection. Nanoscale 6, 7405–7409 (2014).

  86. 86.

    Tokareva, I., Minko, S., Fendler, J. H. & Hutter, E. Nanosensors based on responsive polymer brushes and gold nanoparticle enhanced transmission surface plasmon resonance Spectroscopy. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 126, 15950–15951 (2004).

  87. 87.

    Culver, H. R., Clegg, J. R. & Peppas, N. A. Analyte-responsive hydrogels: intelligent materials for biosensing and drug delivery. Acc. Chem. Res. 50, 170–178 (2017).

  88. 88.

    Tokareva, I. et al. Ultrathin molecularly imprinted polymer sensors employing enhanced transmission surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. Chem. Commun. 3343–3345 (2006).

  89. 89.

    Tokarev, I. et al. Specific biochemical-to-optical signal transduction by responsive thin hydrogel films loaded with noble metal nanoparticles. Adv. Mater. 22, 1412–1416 (2010).

  90. 90.

    Aroca, R. Surface Enhanced Vibrational Spectroscopy (Wiley-Hoboken, 2006).

  91. 91.

    Schlücker, S. Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy: Analytical, Biophysical and Life Science Applications (Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2011).

  92. 92.

    Wang, Y. Q., Yan, B. & Chen, L. X. SERS tags: novel optical nanoprobes for bioanalysis. Chem. Rev. 113, 1391–1428 (2013).

  93. 93.

    Henry, A. I. et al. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy biosensing: in vivo diagnostics and multimodal imaging. Anal. Chem. 88, 6638–6647 (2016).

  94. 94.

    Abalde-Cela, S. et al. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering biomedical applications of plasmonic colloidal particles. J. R. Soc. Interface 7, S435–S450 (2010).

  95. 95.

    Zhou, J. et al. Electrochromic tuning of transparent gold nanorods with poly[(3,4-propylenedioxy)pyrrole] shells in the near-infrared region. J. Mater. Chem. C 5, 12571–12584 (2017).

  96. 96.

    Aldeanueva-Potel, P. et al. Recyclable molecular trapping and SERS detection in silver-loaded agarose gels with dynamic hot spots. Anal. Chem. 81, 9233–9238 (2009).

  97. 97.

    Abalde-Cela, S. et al. Microdroplet fabrication of silver-agarose nanocomposite beads for SERS optical accumulation. Soft Matter 7, 1321–1325 (2011).

  98. 98.

    Jiang, C. Y. et al. In situ controllable preparation of gold nanorods in thermo-responsive hydrogels and their application in surface enhanced Raman scattering. J. Mater. Chem. 20, 8711–8716 (2010).

  99. 99.

    Bodelon, G. et al. Detection and imaging of quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm communities by surface-enhanced resonance Raman scattering. Nat. Mater. 15, 1203–1211 (2016). This paper demonstrates the potential of plasmonics and SERRS for non-invasive monitoring and imaging of biological processes, such as quorum sensing, in live microbial populations.

  100. 100.

    Bodelon, G. et al. Imaging bacterial interspecies chemical interactions by surface-enhanced Raman scattering. ACS Nano 11, 4631–4640 (2017).

  101. 101.

    Lv, S. W. et al. Near-infrared light-responsive hydrogel for specific recognition and photothermal site-release of circulating tumor cells. ACS Nano 10, 6201–6210 (2016). This paper describes a NIR light-responsive hydrogel platform for the highly efficient immunocapture and release of specific individual CTCs from the whole blood of patients with cancer.

  102. 102.

    Xing, R. T. et al. An injectable self-assembling collagen-gold hybrid hydrogel for combinatorial antitumor photothermal/photodynamic therapy. Adv. Mater. 28, 3669–3676 (2016).

  103. 103.

    Schild, H. G. Poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) — experiment, theory and application. Prog. Polym. Sci. 17, 163–249 (1992).

  104. 104.

    Sershen, S. R. et al. Independent optical control of microfluidic valves formed from optomechanically responsive nanocomposite hydrogels. Adv. Mater. 17, 1366–1368 (2005).

  105. 105.

    Zhou, Y. et al. Waveguiding microactuators based on a photothermally responsive nanocomposite hydrogel. Adv. Funct. Mater. 26, 5447–5452 (2016).

  106. 106.

    Shi, Q. et al. Photothermal surface plasmon resonance and interband transition-enhanced nanocomposite hydrogel actuators with hand-like dynamic manipulation. Adv. Opt. Mater. 5, 1700442 (2017).

  107. 107.

    Hauser, A. W., Evans, A. A., Na, J. H. & Hayward, R. C. Photothermally reprogrammable buckling of nanocomposite gel sheets. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 5434–5437 (2015).

  108. 108.

    Zhu, Z. C., Senses, E., Akcora, P. & Sukhishvili, S. A. Programmable light-controlled shape changes in layered polymer nanocomposites. ACS Nano 6, 3152–3162 (2012).

  109. 109.

    Murphy, E. B. & Wudl, F. The world of smart healable materials. Prog. Polym. Sci. 35, 223–251 (2010).

  110. 110.

    Burnworth, M. et al. Optically healable supramolecular polymers. Nature 472, 334–337 (2011).

  111. 111.

    Zhang, H. J. et al. Light-healable hard hydrogels through photothermally induced melting-crystallization phase transition. J. Mater. Chem. A 2, 13373–13379 (2014).

  112. 112.

    Zhang, H. J. & Zhao, Y. Polymers with dual light-triggered functions of shape memory and healing using gold nanoparticles. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 5, 13069–13075 (2013).

  113. 113.

    Altuna, F. I. et al. Photothermal triggering of self-healing processes applied to the reparation of bio-based polymer networks. Mater. Res. Lett. 3, 045003 (2016).

  114. 114.

    Gonzalez-Rubio, G. et al. Femtosecond laser reshaping yields gold nanorods with ultranarrow surface plasmon resonances. Science 358, 640–644 (2017).

  115. 115.

    Zhao, Z., Fang, R., Rong, Q. & Liu, M. Bioinspired nanocomposite hydrogels with highly ordered structures. Adv. Mater. 29, 1703045 (2017).

  116. 116.

    Draper, E. R. & Adams, D. J. Low-molecular-weight gels: the state of the art. Chem 3, 390–410 (2017).

  117. 117.

    Mapperson, T. Towards large scale fabrication of plasmonic nanomaterials by fluid-mediated forces. Thesis, Univ. Melbourne (2018).

Download references


I.P-S. and J.P-J. acknowledge funding from the Spanish MINECO (Grant # MAT2016-77809-R). C.K. and P.M. acknowledge funding from the Australian Research Council through CE170100026. L.M.L-M. acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (Advanced Grant Plasmaquo) and the Spanish MINECO (Grant # MAT2017-86659-R).

Author information


  1. Departamento de Química Física y Centro Singular de Investigaciones Biomédicas (CINBIO), Universidade de Vigo, Vigo, Spain

    • Isabel Pastoriza-Santos
    •  & Jorge Pérez-Juste
  2. ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    • Calum Kinnear
    •  & Paul Mulvaney
  3. CIC biomaGUNE and CIBER-BBN, San Sebastián, Spain

    • Luis M. Liz-Marzán
  4. Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain

    • Luis M. Liz-Marzán


  1. Search for Isabel Pastoriza-Santos in:

  2. Search for Calum Kinnear in:

  3. Search for Jorge Pérez-Juste in:

  4. Search for Paul Mulvaney in:

  5. Search for Luis M. Liz-Marzán in:


C.K. prepared the section on data storage and LSPR sensing. I.P-S. and J.P-J. prepared the sections on sensing, imaging and photothermal applications. P.M. and L.M.L-M. selected topics and coordinated manuscript preparation. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Paul Mulvaney or Luis M. Liz-Marzán.

About this article

Publication history


Issue Date