New Sensing Strategies Based on Surface Modes in Photonic Crystals

  • Emiliano Descrovi
  • Paola Rivolo
  • Luca Boarino
  • Natascia De Leo
  • Fabrizio Giorgis


During the past decade the investigations on the use of optical nanostructures for sensing applications have become an active area of research. The near-field interactions of sensed analytes with optical modes sustained by photonic crystals have resulted in a general increase of the detection performances, both in labelled and label-free configurations. As a particular case, one-dimensional photonic crystals (1DPC) represents an interesting opportunity for enhancing the light–matter interaction mediated by Bloch Surface Waves (BSWs). In this chapter we introduce the concept of surface modes on planar and corrugated 1DPC based on dielectric stratified structures providing several illustrative examples in sensing applications. The use of 1DPC surface modes as optical transducers presents some advantages, such as spectral and polarization tunability and low losses. Moreover, functionalizing layers tailored for specific applications can be included within the definition of the photonic crystal itself, thus leading to hybrid organic/inorganic structures. Some recent advances on the use of a photonic crystal platform for biosensing applications are presented and discussed, including label-free and improved fluorescence-based approaches wherein the intimate coupling of organic emitters to BSWs can be fruitfully exploited.


Bloch Surface Waves Dielectric multilayers Enhanced fluorescence Surface functionalizations Optical sensors Molecular recognition Label-free detection 



The research described above has been developed with noticeable contributions and fruitful discussions involving several researchers and students. In particular, Prof. Francesco Michelotti, Prof. Joseph R. Lakowicz, Prof. Hans Peter Herzig, Prof. Federico Bussolino, Prof. Fabrizio Pirri, Dr. Peter Munzert, Dr. Jakub Dostalek, Dr. Francesca Frascella, Dr. Serena Ricciardi, Dr. Mirko Ballarini, Dr. Pietro Mandracci, Dr. Alessandro Chiadò, Dr. Alessandro Virga, Dr. Lucia Napione, Dr. Angelica Chiodoni, Dr. Emanuele Enrico, Dr. Lorenzo Dominici, Mr. Angelo Angelini, and Ms. Valeria Moi are gratefully acknowledged.

We acknowledge the collaboration with NanoFacility Piemonte, INRiM, a laboratory supported by Compagnia di San Paolo. This research has received funding from the EU FP7 project BILOBA (Grant #318035), the Italian Flagship Project NANOMAX (Progetto Bandiera MIUR PNR 2011–2013), the Italian FIRB 2011 NEWTON (RBAP11BYNP), and the Piedmont Regional Project CIPE 2008 PHOENICS.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emiliano Descrovi
    • 1
  • Paola Rivolo
    • 1
  • Luca Boarino
    • 2
  • Natascia De Leo
    • 2
  • Fabrizio Giorgis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Science and TechnologyPolitecnico di TorinoTorinoItaly
  2. 2.Nanofacility Piemonte, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca MetrologicaTorinoItaly

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