Antenna-in-box platform to enhance single molecule detection
In a collaboration between the Fresnel Institute and ICFO-the Institute for Photonic Sciences, we report in Nature Nanotechnology a novel “antenna-in-box” platform for single molecule fluorescence detection with unprecedented resolutions and sensitivity. The innovative approach combines a plasmonic gap antenna for ultra-high fluorescence enhancement with a metal nanoaperture for optimized background-free operation. It allows for 1100-fold fluorescence brightness enhancement together with detection volumes down to 58 zeptoliters (1 zL = 1e-21L), realizing a gain of four orders of magnitude as compared to classical microscopes. The antenna-in-box offers a highly efficient platform for nanoscale biochemical assays with single molecule sensitivity at physiological conditions.