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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2381. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3381.

Plasmonic gold mushroom arrays with refractive index sensing figures of merit approaching the theoretical limit.

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1] State Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Materials and Technologies, School of Physics and Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China [2].


Localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR)-based sensing has found wide applications in medical diagnosis, food safety regulation and environmental monitoring. Compared with commercial propagating surface plasmon resonance (PSPR)-based sensors, LSPR ones are simple, cost-effective and suitable for measuring local refractive index changes. However, the figure of merit (FOM) values of LSPR sensors are generally 1-2 orders of magnitude smaller than those of PSPR ones, preventing the widespread use of LSPR sensors. Here we describe an array of submicrometer gold mushrooms with a FOM reaching ~108, which is comparable to the theoretically predicted upper limit for standard PSPR sensors. Such a high FOM arises from the interference between Wood's anomaly and the LSPRs. We further demonstrate the array as a biosensor for detecting cytochrome c and alpha-fetoprotein, with their detection limits down to 200 pM and 15 ng ml(-1), respectively, suggesting that the array is a promising candidate for label-free biomedical sensing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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