Research in the Brolo Group
The main goal of the Brolo group is to uses optical and laser spectroscopic methods, particularly those based on the Raman scattering phenomenon, as tools to understand the behaviour and interactions between nanostructured metallic surfaces and chemical species, such as organic molecules and proteins. Those types of interfacial processes can play a pivotal role in several areas, including heterogeneous catalysis, energy conversion/batteries, medical devices, sustainable technologies and many others. The research program involve the preparation of nanostructured materials, the fundamental investigation of the interfaces and applications.
Nanomaterial fabrication and synthesis
We prepare nanomaterials with exquisite new properties. Particularly, we are interested in nanostructured noble metals, such as gold and silver. Those nanostructured metals can sustain new optical and catalytic properties. The materials can be fabricated using colloidal chemistry or by advanced nanofabrication methods, such as nanolithography and nanomilling.
Spectroscopy of Surfaces and materials
We use a variety of spectroscopic methods, particularly Raman scattering, to investigate the properties and composition of materials. These include carbon materials, semiconductors, biological species and interfaces in electrochemical environments. Spectroscopic methods reveal the chemical fingerprint of those types of materials, allowing a better understanding of their behaviour for potential applications.
Single Molecule spectroscopy, Nano optics and Quantum Effects
We investigate the fundamental behaviour of the molecular interaction with metallic nanostructures at the single-molecule level. The dynamics of the surface processes, including adsorption and reactivity, are revealed in those investigations. The understanding of optical and spectroscopic processes at single particles, single particle and even single photon level can lead to important insights into a new generation of photonics and quantum-based devices.
Biomedical and Other Applications
We develop optical and imaging technologies for the diagnosis and for the monitoring of cancer treatment. We also work on the fabrication of miniaturized and low cost biosensors that can be applied to the detection of infectious diseases, such as Zika, dengue and covid-19. We also used surface spectroscopy methods to develop new tools for the monitoring of environmentally-relevant species, including environmental pollutants and workplace hazards, such as exposure to mercury and carbon particles.