Hybrid plasmonic–photonic whispering gallery mode resonators for sensing: a critical review
In this review we present the state of the art and the most recent advances in the field of optical sensing with hybrid plasmonic–photonic whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators. After a brief introduction on the basic physics behind photonic WGM resonators and localized surface plasmon (LSP) nanostructures, we analyze the different types of optical sensors specifically designed for bulk refractive index sensing, molecular binding and single object detection. We point out the physical and technological key points of the different approaches proposed in the literature, and we systematically compare hybrid sensors and purely photonic WGM sensors. This comparative analysis points out the real advantages brought by LSP nanostructures, and it identifies the most promising hybrid architectures.