Emma joined the CDT in June 2015 having previously completed a Masters in Physics at Queen's University Belfast.
CDT PhD Project:
Nanostructured Plasmonic Arrays for Optical Detection
Dr Bob Pollard, Queen's University Belfast
Professor Marc Sorel, University of Glasgow
Under certain conditions, light incident on noble metal nanostructures excites quasiparticles called plasmons in a phenomenon known as localised surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). Due to their exciting optical properties and interactions with surrounding media, plasmonic nanostructures are often incorporated in various photonic devices. Applications range from heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) to optical communications and sensing.
This project utilises a photonic integrated device for life science applications, where a plasmonic based device is exploited to detect biological interactions. The aim of this project is to gain a greater understanding of the behaviour of proteins, which are a fundamental part of many biological processes including metabolism and immunity. Work involves functionalising the nanostructured array for increased specificity and sensitivity to certain ligand-analyte binding reactions occurring at varying concentrations. By using data fitting methods and theoretical models produced in MATLAB, the kinetics and affinity of the reactions has also be investigated. The data gained from the binding reactions has also been compared to that of a commercial, plasmonic sensor to gain information on the limitations and experimental setups of both methods.