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Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensor based on inkjet 3D printing
* 1 , 2 , 1 , 2 , 2 , 3, 4 , * 1, 4
1  Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Catania
2  Department of Engineering, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
3  DSC, University of Catania
Academic Editor: Saulius Juodkazis


A novel surface plasmon (SPR) sensor was designed, manufactured, and experimentally tested. A novel approach was followed to fabricate the sensor, which is based on a combination of both inkjet 3D printing process and the use of optical adhesives, which were used as an alternative solution to the use of plastic optical fibers (POFs). The obtained experimental results showed good performances, at least in terms of figure of merit (FOM) for the 3D printed sensor, which were quite similar to those gained SPR-POF configuration. Instead, a pursue to optimize the poor sensitivity of the novel developed sensor was made by mean of a Design of Experiment (DoE) approach: a surfaces lapping procedure was implemented and some geometric parameters were varied. Next, through a cost analysis the possibility of manufacturing the SPR sensor at low cost was proved, thus being economically advantageous towards conventional sensors.

Eventually, a SPR sensor manufactured at low cost (~ 15 €), showing performances similar to POFs, and realized by mean of 3D printing manufacturing free design, was developed. It represents a breakthrough innovation because, being able to be integrated with other devices on the same plastic planar support, it can find application in several fields as all-polymers photonic sensor.

Keywords: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, Photocurable Resins, Plasmonic, Sensor