Photonic gas sensors exploiting directly the optical properties of hybrid carbon nanotube localized surface plasmon structures

Thomas D.P. Allsop*, Raz Arif, Ron Neal, Kyriacos Kalli, Vojtech Kundrát, Aleksey Rozhin, Phil Culverhouse , David J. Webb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the modification of the optical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) resulting from a chemical reaction triggered by the presence of a specific compound (gaseous carbon dioxide (CO2)) and show this mechanism has important consequences for chemical sensing. CNTs have attracted significant research interest because they can be functionalized for a particular chemical, yielding a specific physical response which suggests many potential applications in the fields of nanotechnology and sensing. So far, however, utilizing their optical properties for this purpose has proven to be challenging. We demonstrate the use of localized surface plasmons generated on a nanostructured thin film, resembling a large array of nano-wires, to detect changes in the optical properties of the CNTs. Chemical selectivity is demonstrated using CO2 in gaseous form at room temperature. The demonstrated methodology results additionally in a new, electrically passive, optical sensing configuration that opens up the possibilities of using CNTs as sensors in hazardous/explosive environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number e16036
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Early online date24 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission fromthe license holder to reproduce thematerial.To viewa copy of this license, visit

Funding: EPSRC (EP/J010413 and EP/J010391)


  • carbon nanotubes
  • localized surface plasmons
  • gas sensors
  • optical sensing


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