The bright colours of noble metal particles have attracted considerable interest since historical times, where they were used as decorative pigments in stained glass windows. More recently, the tuneable optical properties of metal nanoparticles and their addressability via spectroscopic techniques have brought them back into the forefront of fundamental and applied research fields. Much of the recent attention concerning metal nanoparticles such as gold and silver has been their use as small-volume, ultra-sensitive label-free optical sensors. Plasmonic nanoparticles act in this case as transducers that convert changes in the local refractive index into spectral shifts of the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) band. This LSPR-shift assay is a general technique for measuring binding affinities and rates from any molecule that induces a change in the local refractive index around the metallic nanostructures. By attaching molecular recognition elements (chemical or biological ligands) on the nanostructures, specificity and selectivity to the analyte of interest are introduced into the nanosensor. In this review, we will discuss the different methods used to fabricate plasmonic nanosensors. A special emphasis will be given to techniques used to link plasmonic nanostructures to surfaces. While the difference between colorimetric and refractive index sensing approaches will be briefly described, the importance to distinguish between bulk refractive index (RI) sensing and molecular near-field refractive index sensing will be discussed. The recent progress made in the development of novel surface functionalization strategies together with the formation of optically and mechanically stable LSPR sensors will be highlighted.
You have access to this article
Please wait while we load your content...
Something went wrong. Try again?