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Black Silver Biosensor Material

Technology Overview

This technology offers a method to develop an optical material that is highly sensitive to biomarkers that contact it. By measuring the intensity of light reflected from this film, it is possible to sense femtomolar (10-15M) concentrations of biomolecules without labeling. The material is 90% silver but its nanostructure surface gives it a black appearance, hence the name “Black Silver”.

Black Silver can be fabricated in asingle-step process using an industrially proven and scalable technique. In contrast to the current state of the art, this technology offers a cost-effective, efficient, and industrially scalable method to manufacture plasmonic biosensor porous surfaces at room temperature, and without wet chemistry.

The technology owner seeks partners with experience in developing biosensor technologies and commercialising research.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

Porous nanostructured materials allow biomolecules to seep into the pores. Plasmonic porous surfaces are extraordinarily sensitive to changes in the surroundings. Extraordinarily sensitive bio detectors can be developed by combining plasmonics with porous surfaces.

Existing methods to create these porous plasmonic surfaces are complicated, expensive, inefficient, and are incompatible with plastics or flexible substrates. Moreover, their manufacturing process is not easily scaled. In constast, Black Silver can be coated using sputtering on to almost any material including, but not limited to, flexible plastics, metals, ceramics, crystals, and glass. The porosity of the Black Silver film is readily controlled by the sputtering process. Similarly, the surface topology can be tuned from forests of silver nanowires to individual silver nanoparticles by the sputtering process.

Thus far the Black Silver sensitivity has been characterized by exciting surface plasmon polaritons using prism coupling of visible light.

Potential Applications

This technology can be applied to bio and chemical sensing in fluids.

Other areas or markets: The material also absorbs light strongly in the visible and near infrared. It may also be useful for solar energy harvesting and thermopiles.

Business Opportunities:

  • Wearable sensors big data
  • Point of care
  • Home Diagnostics
  • Bio-defense
  • Environment/water monitoring

Global Biosensor Market Size: $22.4 Bn USD in 2020 with a predicted market growth rate of 8% per year (

Customer Benefit

Substantial cost savings are possible over other porous plasmonic biosensing schemes because of our simple production method (patent applied).
From a social perspective, we have seen in the most recent pandemic how bio-testing (PCR tests lateral flow tests) are allowing humanity to return to normal life. The unprecedented sensitivity of plasmonic porous biosensors will now be developed to allow regular monitoring of one’s health, whether it be for early diagnosis of a viral infection or an early disease, such as a cancer.

Contact Person

Robert Simpson


LUX Photonics Consortium

Technology Category

  • Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Personal Care
  • Materials

Technology Readiness Level


Biosensor, Transducer, Perfect Absorber, plasmonics, Solar Energy Harvester, Flexible