The growing need for new and reliable surface sensing methods is arousing interest in the electromagnetic excitations of ultrathin films, i.e., to generate electromagnetic field distributions that resonantly interact with the most significant quasi-particles of condensed matter. In such a context, Bloch surface waves turned out to be a valid alternative to surface plasmon polaritons to implement high-sensitivity sensors in the visible spectral range. Only in the last few years, however, has their use been extended to infrared wavelengths, which represent a powerful tool for detecting and recognizing molecular species and crystalline structures. In this work, we demonstrate, by means of high-resolution reflectivity measurements, that a one-dimensional photonic crystal can sustain Bloch surface waves in the infrared spectral range from room temperature down to 10 K. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of infrared Bloch surface waves at cryogenic temperatures. Furthermore, by exploiting the enhancement of the surface state and the high brilliance of infrared synchrotron radiation, we demonstrate that the proposed BSW-based sensor has a sensitivity on the order of 2.9 cm–1 for each nanometer-thick ice layer grown on its surface below 150 K. In conclusion, we believe that Bloch surface wave-based sensors are a valid new class of surface mode-based sensors for applications in materials science.
Low-Temperature Stability and Sensing Performance of Mid-Infrared Bloch Surface Waves on a One-Dimensional Photonic Crystal / Occhicone, Agostino; Polito, Raffaella; Michelotti, Francesco; Ortolani, Michele; Baldassarre, Leonetta; Pea, Marialilia; Sinibaldi, Alberto; Notargiacomo, Andrea; Cibella, Sara; Mattioli, Francesco; Roy, Pascale; Brubach, Jean-Blaise; Calvani, Paolo; Nucara, Alessandro. - In: ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES. - ISSN 1944-8244. - (2022). [10.1021/acsami.2c07894]