Plasmonic platform based on nanoporous alumina membranes: order control via self-assembly
A novel approach to significantly enhance and comprehensively assess the level of nanochannel ordering in self-assembled nanoporous membranes is proposed and tested. An advanced technique based on a two-step anodization and two-step chemical treatment was used to prepare the perfect through membranes by opening channels from the bottom via electrochemical enlargement, and chemical removal of a residual metal and barrier alumina layer. The influence of the process parameters on the self-assembled ordering was studied, and various methods of order assessment were proposed and tested, such as distributions of equivalent disc radii, 2D Fourier transformations, autocorrelation, Hough transformations, Minkowski connectivity, and distributions of nanochannel centre positions. We have demonstrated that self-assembled ordering in nanoscaled membranes could be efficiently tuned by the process parameters, and different assessment methods should be used to comprehensively characterize the order of nanochannels in the nanoporous membranes. To demonstrate the potential of this technique, we show simulations of the narrowing of plasmon spectra in these materials. The proposed fabrication and assessment methods could be used to drastically enhance the properties of nanoporous membranes for nanoelectronics, filters, sensors, bio-active devices and other advanced emerging applications. Finally, our approach could be used for enhancing and tailoring other self-assembled systems and devices of considerable complexity.