Western University Physics adn AstronomyWestern Science

Silvia Mittler, Professor and Graduate Chair


Contact Information

Office: WSC G9, PAB 208
Tel: (519) 661-2111 x88592
E-mail: smittler [at] uwo [dot] ca

Personal web page

Research Areas


Research Interests

For more detailed on these topics, please follow the links or navigate using the menu at the left. I am currently interested in the following topics:

  • integrated optical devices for sensor application
  • metal nanoparticles of unusual shapes and clusters thereoff: nucleation, ripening, growth and their optical response
  • metal nanoparticles for sensor application
  • optical tweezers in evanescent fields
  • photonic crystals
  • defined microporous materials in thin film geometry
  • hollow optical fibers as smart cuvettes
  • molecular nanoarchitectures of gold nanoparticles and organic functional material
  • biocompatibility
  • biomineralization
  • evanescent microscopy for biological application
  • molecular recognition reactions, guest-host systems, molecular imprinting, supramolecular science
  • ultra thin polymer films

Organo Metallic Chemical Vapor Deposition (OMCVD)
In this current research project both gold and palladium OMCVD precursors are synthesised and used to deposite ultra thin films of palladium/palladium ions or panecake-shaped gold nanoparticles. The main interest is to use these new metal structures for binding chemical and biological recognition sites via thiol (-SH) or sulfide bonds. On the other hand the nucleation and growth process of these new kind of nanoparticles is still not fully understood.

Gold Nanoparticle Clusters and their Optical Response
With the help of templates fabricated by laterally nano-structured self-assembled monolayers defined clusters of gold nanoparticles should be deposited by OMCVD. The optical response in two polarisation direrctions due to cross talk or other coupling mechanisms should be studied.

Evanescent Wave Analytical Tools
Optical slab waveguides and fibres, as well as excited surface plasmons show evanescent fields reaching some hundrets of nanometers into the space above the device surface. These fields are used to detect chemical and biological reactions, typically guest-host or recognition reactions right on the surface of these devices.

Surface Functionalisation
In order to build a highly specific and highly sensitive sensor using the evanescent fields of an integrated optical device the surface functionalisation, responsible for the recognition reaction, has to be well engineered. Typically the functionalisations are formed by monolayers on top of the device offering its chemical or biological function right at the surface. Those monolayer films can be either fabricated via Langmuir-Blodgett-Kuhn technique or by self-assembling. In both cases the structure of the film, the functionaliity density and other parameters have to be optimised.

Detection of Optically Active Molecules with Means of Integrated Optical Devices
Optical active material can turn the polarisation direction of a light beam. The turning strength depends on the concentration, the interaction length between the light and the material as well as its optical activity, which shows a dispersion behaviour. In this current project integrated optical devices will be used to measure the optical activity.

Optical Tweezers in Evanescent Fields
The evanescent fields of a channel waveguide acts as an optical tweezer to hold an object on top of itself. On the other hand a momentum is carried in the evanescent field in the direction of propagation. By using a channel waveguide objects should be tapped on a channel surfaces and carried forward by laser pulses. The movement should be directely correlated with adhesion forces between the object and the waveguide surface. Lateral patterning of the entire device surface should allow for defined stops and go's.

Evanescent Microscopy and Spectroscopy
With this microscopy and spectroscopy methode in the evanescent field of a waveguide we can image objects and wiill measure their absorption spectrum polarisation dependent. Typical examles will be the OMCVD gold nanoparticles and the gold nanoparticle clusters.



  1. E. Ertorer, F. Vasefi, J. Keshwah, M. Najiminaini, C. Halfpap, U. Langbein, J.J.L. Carson, D. W. Hamilton, and S.Mittler, "Large area, periodic, systematically changing, micron and submicron multi-shape structures by Laser Interference Lithography and cell Response to these Nanotopographies" , Biomedical Optics, accepted with minor revisions.
  2. D. Grebennikov and S. Mittler, Langmuir, "Influence of electrostatic forces on the particle propulsion in the evanescent field of silver ion-exchanged waveguides", submitted.
  3. H. Jiang, T. Li, E. Ertorer, J. Yang, J. Sabarinathan and S. Mittler, Sensors and Actuators A., "A Biosensor based on periodic arrays of gold nanodisks under normal transmission",  189 (2013) 474-480.
  4. D. K. Knight, R. Stutchbury, Daniel Imruck, C. Halfpap, S. Lin, U. Langbein, E. R. Gillies, S. Mittler and K. Mequanint, "Focal contact formation of vascular smooth muscle cells on Langmuir-Blodgett and solvent cast films of poly(ester amide)s" , Applied Materials and Interfaces 4 (2012) 1303-1312.