Nano-gap-Enhanced Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensors

Phillip Donald Keathley, Jeffrey Todd Hastings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper analyzes how dual-mode surface plasmon resonance sensors can be further improved if one were to introduce small (~20 nm) gaps in the film surface. First, a figure of merit, the sensor's limit of detection (LOD), is defined in order to optimize the design of the nano-gap sensor. Secondly, the LOD of this design is compared with that of an optimized planar dual-mode design. Through this analysis, it is shown that the LOD of the planar sensor can be improved upon by around a factor of 7 when compared with the nano-gap-enhanced design. Furthermore, with the nano-gap design, the lower wavelength plasmon mode demonstrates remarkably improved selectivity when compared with the conventional sensor. In order to explain these results, the dispersion of each plasmon mode along with the electromagnetic field profiles are modeled and analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment This material is based upon a work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant no. ECCS-0747810.


  • Biochemical sensing
  • Field enhancement
  • Optical sensing
  • Periodic plasmonic structures
  • Plasmon mode dispersion
  • Surface plasmon resonance sensor
  • Surface plasmons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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