Novel plasmonic biosensors

Year: 2012

Jiří Homola

Cooperation: Karl-Franzens University, Graz, and the Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, Prague

Optical biosensors based on surface plasmons (SPs) represent an emerging technology that enables rapid and sensitive detection of biological analytes with potential applications in medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, food safety and security. With the advent of nanoscience and nanotechnology, miniaturization of plasmonic sensors (even down to a single nanoparticle) has become an important goal. We have investigated various types of plasmonic nanostructures and explored their potential for the development of high-performance plasmonic sensors. In collaboration with the Karl-Franzens University, Graz, we investigated detection capabilities of sensors based on SPs on an array of gold nanorods and SPs on a macroscopic gold film [1]. We demonstrated that although the nanorod-based sensor requires a significantly lower number of biomolecular interactions to take place to produce a sensor output, the resulting analytical performance of the two sensors, expressed in terms of the limit of detection, is approximately the same [1]. We have also explored the effects of mass transfer and molecular interaction properties [12]. In addition, we demonstrated plasmonic biosensors for the detection of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA; elevated levels of CEA indicate gastrointestinal, breast, or lung carcinoma) [13] and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (implicated in myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia) [14]. Combining a sensor based on spectroscopy of surface plasmons with functionalized gold nanoparticles enhancing the sensor response, CEA was detected at levels as low as 100 pg/mL – an order of magnitude below the physiological levels of CEA for healthy individuals [13].


  1. Piliarik, M. - Šípová, H. - Kvasnička, P. - Galler, N. - Krenn, J. R. - Homola, J: High-resolution biosensor based on localized surface plasmons, Optics Express, 20, 672-680 (2012).
  2. Kvasnička P. - Chadt, K. - Vala, M. - Bocková, M. - Homola,J.: Towards single-molecule detection with sensors based on propagating surface plasmons, Optics Letters, Sv. 37 (2012), s. 163-165.
  3. Šípová, H. - Vrba, D. – Homola, J.: Analytical value of detecting an individual molecular binding event: the case of the SPR biosensor, Analytical Chemistry, Sv. 84, (2012), s. 30-33.
  4. Špringer, T. - Homola, J.: Bio-functionalized gold nanoparticles for SPR biosensor-based detection of CEA in blood plasma, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Sv. 404 (2012), s. 2869-2875.
  5. Pimková, K. - Bocková, M. - Hegnerová, K. - Suttnar, J. - Čermák, J. - Homola, J. - Dyr, J. E.: Surface plasmon resonance biosensor for the detection of VEGFR-1 – a protein marker of myelodysplastic syndromes, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Sv. 402 (2012), s. 381-387.


IPE carries out fundamental and applied research in the scientific fields of photonics, optoelectronics and electronics. In these fields, IPE generates new knowledge and develops new technologies.

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