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HYbrid Plasmonic Nanostructures for biOmedical Sensing and Imaging

JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT CNR – National Research Council (Italy) / RFBR – Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Russia) 2018-2021

Plasmonic particles are emerging as a versatile solution for a broad variety of unmet needs at the crossroads of biomedical optics, sensing and imaging, owing to their unique efficiency to enhance, absorb and scatter light. These features arise from collective oscillations of free electrons at resonant frequencies, which result into an amplification of the optical intensity at subwavelength scale by various orders of magnitude, in particular around sharp tips or thin gaps, dissipation by resistive heating or decay by radiative emission. In addition, noble-metal particles are rather inert from a biochemical viewpoint, which conveys stability in biological fluids and atoxicity in vivo and explains the great expectation aroused in the biomedical community.
Recent developments in materials science have led to fine control over the synthesis of noble-metal colloids that are nowadays available in a remarkable variety of sizes and shapes, including nano-rods, cages, plates, shells, stars, tetrahedra, etc., corresponding to different optical profiles, in terms of resonant frequencies and relative efficiencies of optical enhancement, absorbance and scattering.
Here, we shall develop a continuum of advanced plasmonic particles that ranges all the way from Au nano-spheres or rods to, respectively, Au@Ag nano-cubes or cuboids with or w/out a porous Au shell (i.e. Au nano-rattles) and assess their performance in two contexts that are pivotal and complementary in terms of requirements and may need fine adjustments around either extremes of Au- or Ag-richer compositions, i.e., respectively surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) detection of biomolecules, such as neuropathogenic proteins, where Ag and Au@Ag nano-cubes have already been tested as a plasmonic substrate, and photoacoustic imaging, where Au nano-rods have already been reported as a powerful alternative of contrast agent.

For more info please contact Fulvio Ratto

CNR staff:

  • Fulvio Ratto
  • Paolo Matteini
  • Sonia Centi
  • Lucia Cavigli
  • Claudia Borri
  • Chiara Amicucci


  • February 2020 Lucia Cavigli in San Francisco, talking about enhancing the stability of photoacoustic conversion from gold nanorods at Photonics West 2020.
  • October 2019 Fulvio Ratto and Sonia Centi from CNR visit the laboratories at IBPPM in Saratov.
  • 13th May 2019 Chiara Amicucci from CNR visits Boris Khlebtsov laboratories at IBPPM in Saratov.
  • February 2019 Welcome to Alessio Milanesi who joins CNR team as chemist.
  • 2nd January 2019 New member of CNR team. Claudia Borri joins us as biotechnologist.
  • 24th September 2018 Fulvio Ratto and Lucia Cavigli from CNR visit Boris Khlebtsov laboratories at IBPPM in Saratov.
  • 31th July 2018 Boris Khlebtsov lecture at CNR Florence Area entitled: “Tricks with Au and Ag: spheres, cubes, cuboids and cages”.
  • 30th July 2018 Kick-off meeting and Boris Khlebtsov visit.