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Research group ’’Nanospectroscopy“

28 Aug | By Volker Deckert
Research group ’’Nanospectroscopy“
Artists impression of near-field spectroscopy
Image source: Copyright S. Trautmann

Our research goals


Our research aims at investigating surfaces with highest possible lateral resolution. To achieve nanometer resolution and single molecule sensitivity, we mainly use scanning probe and near-field optical techniques, specialising on tip-enhanced Raman scattering (TERS). In addition to actual nanoscale experiments a further goal is to understand and predict TERS spectra by describing surface-immobilised molecules in the vicinity of plasmonic metal nanoparticles using computational quantum chemistry (TERS/QM) and classical electrodynamics(TERS/EM). The combination of these two methods shall explain specific Raman signatures of surface-immobilised molecules and predict the limits of the lateral resolution of TERS. 


Specific research questions


Fundamental interactions on the nanometer scale

What are the fundamental limits of resolution?

Which effects influence the resolution?


Method development

How can experiments be optimized?

Can the evaluation of data be improved?


(Plasmon-activated) catalysis

Is it possible to investigate basic reaction steps at catalytic hot-spots?

Is nanoscale near-field structuring possible via TERS probes?


Bio-applications

Is direct single molecule sequencing possible?

Can single proteins be investigated?


Experiments on High Lateral Resolution

Several TERS experiments on protein fibrils and DNA strands reveal sub-nm resolution. Interestingly such experiments can be done without any further “enhancing” techniques as gap-mode, resonance Raman etc., and even work under ambient conditions. Such experiments particular will shed light on structural properties and potentially dynamics of the investigated specimen. 


Bio-Polymer Sequencing

Direct investigation of a single polymer structure or even direct sequencing is a major target in our research group. This involves a closer look at proteins and their secondary structure and assembly. Recently, our group has resolved the sequence of artificial single-stranded DNA and RNA molecules by TERS.



Fast and efficient diagnostics of viruses (Fast Virus)

In order to study specific properties of nanoparticles, novel instrumental setups are being developed. Furthermore, specifically tailored substrates for TERS are constantly tested and improved.

We have developed a novel approach of TERS to opaque samples such as semiconductors or geological samples.


We are an interdisciplinary and international group and therefore offer topics with an experimental, as well as a theoretical background, concerning brand-new issues of high-resolution spectroscopy. 

Do you want to join our research group? We are alway looking for talented and interested researchers on different levels (Bachelor, Master, PhD Postdoc) For details, please check the Resource Finder or visit our website (TERS@FSUl)

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