Ultrasensitive Plasmonic Platform for Label-Free Detection of Membrane-Associated Species
Lipid membranes and membrane proteins are important biosensing targets, motivating the development of label-free methods with improved sensitivity. Silica-coated metal nanoparticles allow these systems to be combined with supported lipid bilayers for sensing membrane proteins through localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). However, the small sensing volume of LSPR makes the thickness of the silica layer critical for performance. Here, we develop a simple, inexpensive, and rapid sol–gel method for preparing thin conformal, continuous silica films and demonstrate its applicability using gold nanodisk arrays with LSPRs in the near-infrared range. Silica layers as thin as ∼5 nm are observed using cross-sectional scanning transmission electron microscopy. The loss in sensitivity due to the thin silica coating was found to be only 16%, and the biosensing capabilities of the substrates were assessed through the binding of cholera toxin B to GM1 lipids. This sensor platform should prove useful in the rapid, multiplexed detection and screening of membrane-associated biological targets.
Solid-Supported Lipid Bilayers; plasmonic biosensing; nanodisk array; silica sol-gel; localized surface plasmon resonance