Promises and challenges of nanoplasmonic devices for refractometric biosensing

Andreas B. Dahlin, Nathan J. Wittenberg, Fredrik Höök, Sang Hyun Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Optical biosensors based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR) in metallic thin films are currently standard tools for measuring molecular binding kinetics and affinities-an important task for biophysical studies and pharmaceutical development. Motivated by recent progress in the design and fabrication of metallic nanostructures, such as nanoparticles or nanoholes of various shapes, researchers have been pursuing a new generation of biosensors harnessing tailored plasmonic effects in these engineered nanostructures. Nanoplasmonic devices, while demanding nanofabrication, offer tunability with respect to sensor dimension and physical properties, thereby enabling novel biological interfacing opportunities and extreme miniaturization. Here we provide an integrated overview of refractometric biosensing with nanoplasmonic devices and highlight some recent examples of nanoplasmonic sensors capable of unique functions that are difficult to accomplish with conventional SPR. For example, since the local field strength and spatial distribution can be readily tuned by varying the shape and arrangement of nanostructures, biomolecular interactions can be controlled to occur in regions of high field strength. This may improve signal-to-noise and also enable sensing a small number of molecules. Furthermore, the nanoscale plasmonic sensor elements may, in combination with nanofabrication and materials-selective surface-modifications, make it possible to merge affinity biosensing with nanofluidic liquid handling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-101
Number of pages19
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Science Wise Publishing & DE GRUYTER.


  • Enzyme-linked biosensing
  • Figure of merit
  • Nanohole
  • Nanoparticle
  • Optical biosensors
  • Optofluidics
  • Plasmonics
  • Pore-spanning lipid membrane
  • Refractometric sensors
  • Single molecule detection
  • Sitespecific chemistry
  • Supported lipid bilayer
  • Surface plasmon resonance

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