Miniaturized localized surface plasmon resonance biosensors
Abstract: Abstract Reliable and sensitive biosensors are required for fast and accurate diagnostics. Localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs) in noble-metal nanoparticles possess very high refractive index sensitivity close to the metal surface and therefore constitute an attractive biosensing platform. In this thesis, label-free biosensing with LSPR was investigated and demonstrated. The spatial sensing ranges of the particles were determined by thin layer deposition of dielectric materials. A comparison between the classical SPR and LSPR was performed using the same experimental setup. No obvious performance difference between the two sensing techniques was found. The versatility of the LSPR sensing technique was demonstrated by miniaturization of the sensor area, which could be reduced down to ~250 nanoparticles without compromising the short-term noise level. To further miniaturize the LSPR sensor, multiple single nanoparticles were measured using hyperspectral imaging. It was shown that by combining LSPR refractive index sensing and an enzyme linked immunoassay (ELISA), i.e. a horseradish peroxidase catalyzed precipitation, an extremely low surface coverage of enzyme molecules could be detected on single isolated nanoparticles. In a follow up investigation, electron beam lithography (EBL) and hyperspectral imaging were combined to enable simultaneous measurements of up to 700 individual particles. This made it possible to study statistical variations between the sensor particles. The observed variations in the responses from individual particles were interpreted as a result of large variations in sensitivity over the particle surface combined with the size distribution of the precipitate. In a separate study, a photo functionalization strategy compatible with LSPR biosensors was investigated. A biotin moiety was successfully functionalized with UV light on a self-assembled monolayer of photoactive nitroindoline on gold surfaces. Adsorption of streptavidin and streptavidin conjugated HRP to the surface-bound biotin could be monitored by the LSPR sensor. This strategy might be utilized for spatially localized surface functionalization for multiplexed miniaturized LSPR sensors. In summary, despite many experimental problems, the results discussed in this thesis point towards a number of important biosensing applications of plasmonic nanoparticles.
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