Kreuzer, Mark P.
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Institut de Ciències Fotòniques
In recent times, metallic nanoparticle plasmonics coupled with applications towards biosensing has gathered momentum to the point where commercial R&D are investing large resources in developing the so-called localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) biosensors. Conceptually, the main motivation for the research presented within this thesis is achievement of fully-operational LSPR biosensor interfaced with the state-of-the-art microfluidics, allowing for very precise control of sample manipulation and stable read-out. LSPR sensors are specifficaly engineered by electron beam lithography nanofabrication technique, where nanoparticle interactions are optimized to exhibit increased sensitivity and higher signal-to-noise ratio. However, the overall performance of LSPR lab-on-a-chip device depends critically on the biorecognition layer preparation in combination with surface passivation. As an introduction, the principles of plasmonic biosensing are identified encompassing both Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) and Localized SPR. Being successfully implemented into commercial product, the governing physics of SPR is compared to LSPR in chapter 1, together with advantages and disadvantages of both. Chapter 2 describes methods necessary for LSPR biosensor development, beginning with nano-fabrication methods, the modelling tool (COMSOL Multiphisics), while the basics of micro-fabrication in microfluidics conclude this chapter, where passive and active microfluidics networks are discerned. Particularly attractive optical properties are exhibited by closely-coupled nanoparticles (dimers), with the dielectric gap of below tens of nm, which were theoretically predicted to be very suitable as LSPR biosensing substrates. Chapter 3 is subjected to optical characterization (dependence on the size of the dielectric gap) of nanofabricated dimer arrays. The acquired data demonstrate the advantages of the nanofabrication methods presented in chapter 2 and the technique for fast and reliable determination of nanoparticle characteristic parameters. The initial biosensing-like experiments presented in chapter 4 (no integration with microfluidics) proved for the first time, the theoretical predictions of higher sensitivity, yielding additionally the specific response as function of analyte size and dielectric gap between nanoparticles. The overall response of different dimer arrays (various gaps) provides information about adopted conformation of analyte protein once immobilized. Broad resonances of dimers feature higher noise when employing them for the real-time LSPR biosensing. As a way to circumvent such problem, the feasibility of employing far-field interaction within the nanoparticle array to spectrally narrow resonance is investigated in chapter 5 by optimizing the array periodicity and introducing thin waveguiding layers. Finally, the concluding chapter 6 is dedicated to a full assembly of a Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) LSPR biosensor, starting with interfacing plasmonic substrates with compatible active microfluidic networks, allowing the precise sample delivery and multiplexing. The prototype device consisting of 8 individual sensors is presented with typical modes of operation. The bulk refractive index determination of various samples demonstrates the working principle of such device. Finally, various strategies of biorecognition layer formation are discussed within the on-going research.
57 - Biological sciences in general; 621.3 Electrical engineering