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Self-assembly on optical fiber: a powerful nanofabrication tool for next generation “lab-on-fiber” optrodes


Self-assembly offers a unique resource for the preparation of discrete structures at the nano- and microscale, which are either not accessible by other fabrication techniques or require highly expensive and technologically demanding processes. The possibility of obtaining spontaneous organization of separated components, whether they are molecules, polymers, nano- or micro-objects, into a larger functional unit, enables the development of ready-to-use plug and play devices and components at lower costs. Expanding the applicability of self-assembly approaches at nanoscale to not conventional substrates would open new avenues towards multifunctional platforms customized for specific applications. Recently, the combination of the amazing morphological and optical features of self-assembled patterns with the intrinsic properties of optical fibers to conduct light to a remote location have demonstrated the potentiality to open new intriguing scenarios featuring unprecedented functionalities and performances. The integration of advanced materials and structures at nanoscale with optical fiber substrates is the idea behind the so-called lab-on-fiber technology, which is an emerging technology at the forefront of nanophotonics and nanotechnology research. Self-assembly processes can have a key role in implementing cost-effective solutions suitable for massive production of technologically advanced platforms based on optical fibers towards their real market exploitation. Novel lab-on-fiber optrodes would arise from the sustainable integration of functional materials at micro a nanoscale onto optical fiber substrates. Such devices are able to be easily integrated in hypodermic needles and catheters for in vivo theranostics and point-of-care diagnostics, opening new frontiers in multidisciplinary technological developments to be exploited in life science applications. This work is conceived to provide an overview of the latest strategies, based on self-assembly processes, which have been implemented for the realization of lab-on-fiber optrodes with particular emphasis on the perspectives and challenges that lie ahead. We discuss the main fabrication techniques and strategies aimed to develop new multifunctional optical fiber nanoprobes as well as their application in real scenarios. Finally, we highlight some of the further self-assembly processes that have not been applied to optical fiber sensors yet, but have the potentiality to be exploited in the fabrication of future lab-on-fiber devices.

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Publication details

The article was received on 25 Jul 2018, accepted on 04 Nov 2018 and first published on 05 Nov 2018

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR06002A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Self-assembly on optical fiber: a powerful nanofabrication tool for next generation “lab-on-fiber” optrodes

    F. Galeotti, M. Pisco and A. Cusano, Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8NR06002A

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