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Nisha Rani Agarwal

Assistant Professor


Faculty of Science

Focus on research namely 'Development of novel techniques for nano-scale characterization of surface properties' and integration of new learning approaches in the physics courses I teach

Contact information

Science Building - Room 2027
North Oshawa
2000 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, ON L1G 0C5

905.721.8668 ext. 6291

Research topics

  • Nano-scale Characterization
  • Technique Development
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Intermodulation Spectroscopy
  • Bio-photonics
  • Plasmonics, Nanomaterials
  • Medical Imaging

Areas of expertise

  • Nanotechnology
  • Microscopy and Spectroscopy
  • Bio-photonics
  • Plasmonics
  • Materials Science
  • Medical Imaging


Nisha Agarwal received her PhD from Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy in 2013 as an Erasmus scholar working in the field of nanotechnology and materials science focusing on Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS). She further pursued 5 years of post-doctoral research at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova, Italy; Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden and McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada broadening her expertise in non-linear microscopy with applications in plasmonics, pharmaceutical and biological sectors, development of super-resolution techniques and paper-based point-of-care diagnostics. She currently holds an Assistant Professor position in Physics, Faculty of Science at Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, Canada.

Her main research interests lie in innovation and development of new emerging high-resolution (nanoscale regime) technologies and integrating it with Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Raman spectroscopy. The technology is applied to solving real-world problems such as biological study of neurological disorders, Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease; mitochondrial dysfunctional studies in yeast cells as a model for Alzheimers, study of metastasis in colo-rectal cancer cells and environmental problems. Additionally, the applications extend to understanding physical phenomena at the interfaces of nanomaterials, thus building the field of plasmonics.


  • PhD Politecnico di Milano 2013
  • MSc University of Delhi 2009
  • BSc (Hons) University of Delhi 2007

Courses taught

  • PHY2030U - Mechanics I 
  • PHY1040U - Physics for Biosciences
  • PHY4030U - Topics in Contemporary Physics


  • Journal Articles
    1. Agarwal NR, Ossi PM, Trusso S. (2019). Driving electromagnetic field enhancements in tailored gold surface nanostructures: optical properties and macroscale simulations. Applied Surface Science. 466: 19-27. 
    1. Agarwal NR, Pour MD, Vandikas MS, Osmancevic A, Malmberg P. (2018). Investigation of psoriasis skin tissue by label-free multi-modal imaging: a pilot case study on phototherapy treated patient. Psoriasis: Targets and Therapy.

    2. Agarwal NR, Tommasini M, Ciusani E, Lucotti A, Trusso S, Ossi PM. (2018). Protein-metal interactions probed by SERS: Lysozyme on nanostructured gold surface. Plasmonics. 13: 2117-24.
    1. Claudia Triolo, Savasta Salvatore, Alessio Settineri, Sebastiano Trusso, Rosalba Saija, Nisha Rani Agarwal, Salvatore Patanè. (2018). Near-field imaging of surface-plasmon vortex-modes around a single elliptical nanohole in a gold film. Nature Scientific Reports.

    2. Chen X, Bisschops MMM, Agarwal NR, Shunmugavel KP, Petranovic D. (2017). Interplay of energetics and ER stress exacerbates Alzheimer’s amyloid-β (Aβ) toxicity in yeast. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. 10: 232.

    3. Blockhuys S, Agarwal NR, Hildesjo C, Jarsfelt I, Wittung-Stafshede P, Sun XF. (2017). Second harmonic generation for collagen I characterization in rectal cancer patients with and without preoperative radiotherapy. Journal of Biomedical Optics. 22: 1-6.
    4. Agarwal NR, Lucotti A, Tommasini M, Neri F, Trusso S, Ossi PM. (2016). SERS detection and DFT calculation of 2-naphthalene thiol adsorbed on Ag and Au probes. Sensors and actuators B: Chemical. 237: 545-555.

    5. Blockhuys S, Liu N, Agarwal NR, Enejder A, Loitto V, Sun XF. (2016). X-radiation enhances the collagen type 1 strap-formation and migration potential of colon cancer cells. Oncotarget. 7: 71390-71399.

    6. Agarwal NR, Lucotti A, Tommasini M, Chalifoux WA, Tykwinski RR. (2016). Nonlinear optical properties of polyynes: An experimental prediction for carbyne. Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 120(20): 11131-11139.

    7. Agarwal NR, Tommasini M, Fazio E, Neri F, Ponterio RC, Trusso S, Ossi PM. (2014). SERS activity of silver and gold nanostructured thin films deposited by pulsed laser ablation. Applied Physics A. 117: 347-351.

    8. Johannessen C, Blanch EW, Villani C, Abbate S, Longhi G, Agarwal NR, Tommasini M, Lightner DA. (2013). Raman and ROA spectra of (-)- and (+)- 2-Br-Hexahelicene: experimental and DFT studies of a π- conjugated chiral system. Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 117(7): 2221-2230.
    1. Agarwal NR, Lucotti A, Fazzi D, Tommasini M, Castiglioni C, Chalifoux W, Tykwinski RR. (2013). Structure and chain polarization of long polyynes investigated with IR and Raman spectroscopy. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy. 44(10): 1398-1410.

    2. Agarwal NR, Neri F, Trusso S, Ossi PM. (2013). Growth analysis of pulsed laser ablated films. Plasmonics. 8(4): 1707-1712.

    3. Agarwal NR, Neri F, Trusso S, Lucotti A, Ossi PM. (2012). Au Nanoparticle Arrays produced by Pulsed Laser Deposition for Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. Applied Surface Science. 258(23): 9148-9152.
  • Book Chapters
    1. Ossi PM, Agarwal NR, Fazio E, Neri F, Trusso S. (2013). Laser mediated nanoparticle synthesis and self-assembling. Castillejo M, et al.Lasers in Materials Science. (191): 175-212.
      Published, Springer Series in Materials Science (Springer Verlag: Heidelberg)
  • Conference Publications
    1. Triolo C, Salvatore S, Trusso S, Saija R, Agarwal NR, Patanè S. (2018). Near-field imaging of surface plasmon vortex-modes on a gold film with a single elliptical nanohole. Nanophotonics and micro/nano optics International conference, Rome, Italy
    2. Triolo C, Settineri A, Salvatore S, Trusso S, Saija R, Patanè S, Agarwal NR. (2017). Plasmon vortices around isolated nanoholes cratered on agold film: polarization dependent coupling of SPPs and excitation beam. Plasmonica, Lecce, Italy