Are plasmonic optical biosensors ready for use in point-of-need applications?
Plasmonics has drawn significant attention in the area of biosensors for decades due to the unique optical properties of plasmonic resonant nanostructures. While the sensitivity and specificity of molecular detection relies significantly on the resonance conditions, significant attention has been dedicated to the design, fabrication, and optimization of plasmonic substrates. The adequate choice of materials, structures, and functionality goes hand in hand with a fundamental understanding of plasmonics to enable the development of practical biosensors that can be deployed in real life situations. Here we provide a brief review of plasmonic biosensors detailing most recent developments and applications. Besides metals, novel plasmonic materials such as graphene are highlighted. Sensors based on Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance (LSPR), and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) are presented and classified based on their materials and structure. In addition, most recent applications to environment monitoring, health diagnosis, and food safety are presented. Potential problems related to the implementation in such applications are discussed and an outlook is presented.