We have developed an optical system designed for detecting colored nanomaterials in aqueous solutions, using the concept of evanescent-field- coupled waveguide-mode sensors. In this study, we found that the waveguide modes induced in the sensor are intrinsically sensitive to a change in optical absorption, or a 'change in color'. The system detects less than one gold nanoparticle (diameter: 20 nm) adsorbed per square micrometer. It is also demonstrated that significant signal enhancement due to adsorption of molecules is achieved using a dye. The developed sensor rarely suffers from a drawback of impurity adsorption. The system is expected to be applied as an effective sensing tool for metal colloids, nanoparticles, and colored biomolecules in solution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas