A plasmonic optical fiber patterned by template transfer as a high-performance flexible nanoprobe for real-time biosensing
Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) on metal nanostructures offers a promising route for manipulation and interrogation of light in the subwavelength regime. However, the utility of SPR structures is largely limited by currently used complex nanofabrication methods and relatively sophisticated optical components. Here to relieve these restrictions, plasmonic optical fibers are constructed by transferring periodic metal nanostructures from patterned templates onto endfaces of optical fibers using an epoxy adhesive. Patterned metal structures are generally extended from two-dimensional (2D) nanohole arrays to one-dimensional (1D) nanoslit arrays. By controlling the viscosity of the adhesive layer, diverse surface topographies of metal structures are realized with the same template. We design a special plasmonic fiber that simultaneously implements multimode refractive index sensing (transmission and reflection) with remarkably narrow linewidth (6.6 nm) and high figure of merit (60.7), which are both among the best reported values for SPR sensors. We further demonstrate a real-time immunoassay relying on our plasmonic fiber integrated with a special flow cell. Plasmonic optical fibers also take advantages of excellent stability during fiber bending and capability of spectrum filtering. These features enable our plasmonic fibers to open up an alternative avenue for the general community in biosensing and nanoplasmonics.