Illuminating biomolecular interactions with localized surface plasmon resonance
Mayer, Kathryn M.
Hafner, Jason H.
Doctor of Philosophy
Noble metal nanoparticles exhibit localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR), in which incident light causes a collective oscillation of a nanoparticle's free electrons. This phenomenon results in unique optical properties, including enhanced electric fields near the particle surface and an extinction peak at the resonant wavelength. The LSPR extinction peak's location is sensitive to the refractive index of the surrounding medium, especially in the volume closest to the particle surface. This makes plasmonic nanoparticles ideal for biosensing: their refractive index sensitivity can be used to transduce molecular binding signals. A method has been developed to use the optical extinction of films of gold nanorods to track antibody-antigen interactions in real time, resulting in a label-free kinetic immunoassay based on LSPR. Also, this method has been adapted to scattering spectra of single gold bipyramids. The single-particle approach has allowed the label-free detection of single biomolecules with kinetics information. These methods have future applications to both molecular biology and clinical assays.
Nanoscience; Physical chemistry; Optics; Biophysics