Exploring copper nanostructures as highly uniform and reproducible substrates for plasmon-enhanced fluorescence†
The unique properties of metallic nanostructures of coinage metals that can sustain localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPR) put them at the centre of plasmon-enhanced phenomena. The theory of plasmonic phenomena based on LSPR is well-established. However, the fabrication of plasmonic substrates, reproducibly, is still challenging for applications in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and surface-enhanced fluorescence (SEF). In this work we describe well-ordered copper nanostructures (CuNSs), produced by electrodeposition and nanosphere lithography, as active substrates for SEF. After a detailed spectroscopic and microscopic characterization, CuNSs are successfully applied as SEF-active substrates using a well-known perylene derivative as a target molecule. The signal reproducibility from CuNS substrates was established by comparing the results against those obtained from a simply roughened Cu substrate. Under optimal conditions, signal variability is around 4%.