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Journal for Biophysical Chemistry

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  • Open Access

Nanoplasmonic biosensing with focus on short-range ordered nanoholes in thin metal films (Review)

  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 2 and
  • 1

  • Received: 11 August 2008
  • Accepted: 21 October 2008
  • Published:


The resonance conditions for excitation of propagating surface plasmons at planar metal/dielectric interfaces and localized surface plasmons associated with metal nanostructures are both sensitive to changes in the interfacial refractive index. This has made these phenomena increasingly popular as transducer principles in label-free sensing of biomolecular recognition reactions. In this article, the authors review the recent progress in the field of nanoplasmonic bioanalytical sensing in general, but set particular focus on certain unique possibilities provided by short-range ordered nanoholes in thin metal films. Although the latter structures are formed in continuous metal films, while nanoparticles are discrete entities, these two systems display striking similarities with respect to sensing capabilities, including bulk sensitivities, and the localization of the electromagnetic fields. In contrast, periodic arrays of nanoholes formed in metal films, most known for their ability to provide wavelength-tuned enhanced transmission, show more similarities with conventional propagating surface plasmon resonance. However, common for both short-range ordered and periodic nanoholes formed in metal films is that the substrate is electrically conductive. Some of the possibilities that emerge from sensor templates that are both electrically conductive and plasmon active are discussed and illustrated using recent results on synchronized nanoplasmonic and quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring of supported lipid bilayer formation and subsequent biomolecular recognition reactions. Besides the fact that this combination of techniques provides an independent measure of biomolecular structural changes, it is also shown to contribute with a general means to quantify the response from nanoplasmonic sensors in terms of bound molecular mass.