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See supplementary material at for details of the experimental conditions on growth of silver fractal structures and SERS measurements.[Supplementary Material]

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Large-scale metallic three-dimensional (3D) structures composed of sub-wavelength fine details, called metamaterials, have attracted optical scientists and materials scientists because of their unconventional and extraordinary optical properties that are not seen in nature. However, existing nano-fabrication technologies including two-photon fabrication, e-beam, focused ion-beam, and probe microscopy are not necessarily suitable for fabricating such large-scale 3D metallic nanostructures. In this article, we propose a different method of fabricating metamaterials, which is based on a bottom-up approach. We mimicked the generation of wood forest under the sunlight and rain in nature. In our method, a silver nano-forest is grown from the silver seeds (nanoparticles) placed on the glass substrate in silver-ion solution. The metallic nano-forest is formed only in the area where ultraviolet light is illuminated. The local temperature increases at nano-seeds and tips of nano-trees and their branches due to the plasmonic heating as a result of UV light excitation of localized mode of surface plasmon polaritons. We have made experiments of growth of metallic nano-forest patterned by the light distribution. The experimental results show a beautiful nano-forest made of silver with self-similarity. Fractal dimension and spectral response of the grown structure are discussed. The structures exhibit a broad spectral response from ultraviolet to infrared, which was used for surface-enhanced Raman detection of molecules.


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