Improving the Limit of Detection of Nanoscale Sensors by Directed Binding to High-Sensitivity Areas
ABSTRACT The revelation of protein-protein interactions is one of the main preoccupations in the field of proteomics. Nanoplasmonics has emerged as an attractive surface-based technique because of its ability to sense protein binding under physiological conditions in a label-free manner. Here, we use short-range ordered holes with a diameter of approximately 150 nm and a depth of approximately 50 nm as a nanoplasmonic template. A approximately 40 nm high cylindrical region of Au is exposed on the walls of the holes only, while the rest of the surface consists of TiO2. Since the sensitivity is confined to the nanometric holes, the use of two different materials for the sensor substrate offers the opportunity to selectively bind proteins to the most sensitive Au regions on the sensor surface. This was realized by applying material-selective poly(ethylene glycol)-based surface chemistry, restricting NeutrAvidin binding to surface-immobilized biotin on the Au areas only. We show that under mass-transport limited conditions (low nM bulk concentrations), the initial time-resolved response of uptake could be increased by a factor of almost 20 compared with the case where proteins were allowed to bind on the entire sensor surface and stress the generic relevance of this concept for nanoscale sensors. In the scope of further optimizing the limit of detection (LOD) of the sensor structure, we present finite-element (FE) simulations to unravel spatially resolved binding rates. These revealed that the binding rates in the holes occur in a highly inhomogeneous manner with highest binding rates observed at the upper rim of the holes and the lowest rates observed at the bottom of the holes. By assuming a plasmonic field distribution with enhanced sensitivity at the Au-TiO2 interface, the FE simulations reproduced the experimental findings qualitatively.
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ABSTRACT: Nanoscale biosensors provide the possibility to miniaturize optic, acoustic and electric sensors to the dimensions of biomolecules. This enables approaching single-molecule detection and new sensing modalities that probe molecular conformation. Nanoscale sensors are predominantly surface-based and label-free to exploit inherent advantages of physical phenomena allowing high sensitivity without distortive labeling. There are three main criteria to be optimized in the design of surface-based and label-free biosensors: (i) the biomolecules of interest must bind with high affinity and selectively to the sensitive area; (ii) the biomolecules must be efficiently transported from the bulk solution to the sensor; and (iii) the transducer concept must be sufficiently sensitive to detect low coverage of captured biomolecules within reasonable time scales. The majority of literature on nanoscale biosensors deals with the third criterion while implicitly assuming that solutions developed for macroscale biosensors to the first two, equally important, criteria are applicable also to nanoscale sensors. We focus on providing an introduction to and perspectives on the advanced concepts for surface functionalization of biosensors with nanosized sensor elements that have been developed over the past decades (criterion (iii)). We review in detail how patterning of molecular films designed to control interactions of biomolecules with nanoscale biosensor surfaces creates new possibilities as well as new challenges.Sensors 01/2015; 15(1):1635-1675. DOI:10.3390/s150101635 · 2.05 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Surfaces of metallic films and metallic nanoparticles can strongly confine electromagnetic field through its coupling to propagating or localized surface plasmons. This interaction is associated with large enhancement of the field intensity and local optical density of states which provides means to increase excitation rate, raise quantum yield, and control far field angular distribution of fluorescence light emitted by organic dyes and quantum dots. Such emitters are commonly used as labels in assays for detection of chemical and biological species. Their interaction with surface plasmons allows amplifying fluorescence signal (brightness) that accompanies molecular binding events by several orders of magnitude. In conjunction with interfacial architectures for the specific capture of target analyte on a metallic surface, plasmon-enhanced fluorescence (PEF) that is also referred to as metal-enhanced fluorescence (MEF) represents an attractive method for shortening detection times and increasing sensitivity of various fluorescence-based analytical technologies. This review provides an introduction to fundamentals of PEF, illustrates current developments in design of metallic nanostructures for efficient fluorescence signal amplification that utilizes propagating and localized surface plasmons, and summarizes current implementations to biosensors for detection of trace amounts of biomarkers, toxins, and pathogens that are relevant to medical diagnostics and food control.Plasmonics 08/2013; 9(4):781-799. DOI:10.1007/s11468-013-9660-5 · 2.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We evaluate and compare the sensitivity of gold nanodisks on silica substrates and nanoholes made in silica-supported gold films, two of the most common sensor structures used in plasmonic biosensing. An alumina overcoat was applied by atomic layer deposition (ALD) to precisely control the interfacial refractive index and determine the evanescent plasmonic field decay length. The results are in good agreement with analytical models and biomolecular binding experiments for the two substrates. We found that nanodisks outperform nanoholes for thin dielectric coatings (<∼20 nm), while the opposite holds true for thicker coatings (>∼20 nm). The optimum nanoplasmonic transducer element for a given biorecognition reaction can be chosen based on experimentally determined bulk sensitivities/noise levels and theoretically estimated evanescent field decay lengths.Keywords: plasmonics; biosensing; nanohole; nanodisk; surface plasmon resonance; atomic layer deposition01/2015; 2(2):150113161516000. DOI:10.1021/ph500360d