Background: Direct bio-monitoring essentially involves optical means since photon has insignificant effects over biomolecules. Over the years, laser induced surface Plasmon resonance method with various modifications as well as versatile localized Plasmon excited by incoherent light have facilitated in recording many nanobiological activities. Yet, monitoring interactions of small molecules including drugs requires signal amplification and improvement on signal-to-noise ratio.
Objectives: This paper focused on how the refractive index based nanobio-sensoring gold platform can produce more efficient, adaptable and more practical detection techniques to observe molecular interactions at high degree of sensitivity. It discusses surface chemistry approach, optimisation of the refractive index of gold platform and manipulation of gold geometry augmenting signal quality.
Methods: In a normal-incidence reflectivity, r0 can be calculated using the Fresnel equation. Particularly at λ = 470 nm the ratio of r / r0 showed significant amplitude reduction mainly stemmed from the imaginary part of the Au refractive index. Hence, the fraction of reduction, Δr = 1 - r / r0. Experimentally, in a common reference frame reflectivity of a bare gold surface, R0 is compared with the reflectivity of gold surface in the presence of biolayer, R. The reduction rate (%) of reflectivity, ΔR = 1 - R / R0 is denoted as the AR signal. The method therefore enables quantitative measurement of the surface-bound protein by converting ΔR to the thickness, d, and subsequently the protein mass. We discussed four strategies to improve the AR signal by changing the effective refractive index of the biosensing platform. They are; a) Thickness optimisation of Au thin layer, b) Au / Ag bimetallic layer, c) composing alloy or Au composite, and d) Au thinlayer with nano or micro holes.
Results: As the result we successfully ‘move’ the refractive index, ε of the AR platform (gold only) to ε = -0.948 + 3.455i, a higher sensitivity platform. This was done by composing Au-Ag2O composite with ratio = 1:1. The results were compared to the potential sensitivity improvement of the AR substrate using other that could be done by further tailoring the ε advanced method.
Conclusion: We suggested four strategies in order to realize this purpose. It is apparent that sensitivity has been improved through Au/Ag bimetallic layer or Au-Ag2O composite thin layer, This study is an important step towards fabrication of sensitive surface for detection of biomolecular interactions.
Keywords: Signal enhancement, protein detection, Plasmon, anomalous reflection of gold, refractive index, label-free biosensors.