This work provides plasmonic crystal platforms for quantitative imaging mode biosensing and multispectral immunoassays, establishing and validating both the optical and equilibrium bases for their operation. We investigated the distance-dependent refractive index sensitivity of full 3D plasmonic crystals to thin polymeric films formed using layer by layer (LbL) assembly of polyelectrolytes as a model system. LbL was also used to determine the preferred gold thickness and plasmonic crystal design rules (nanowell diameter and periodicity) for improved thin-film sensitivity, and full 3D finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) calculations were used to quantitatively model and confirm the experimentally observed thin film sensitivities. The integrated multispectral response of the crystals increases approximately linearly with film thickness for values <70 nm, which enables the use of molecular rulers with known thicknesses (such as self-assembled monolayers of alkanethiols on gold) to calibrate these optics for quantitative detection and speciation of surface binding events in a multiplexed imaging format. The utility of these sensors and multispectral analysis for applications in quantitative biosensing was further demonstrated by measuring the equilibrium response curve of an antibody/antigen pair (rabbit antigoat IgG/goat IgG) at increasing antigen concentrations. Fitting the integrated response to a Langmuir isotherm yielded a calculated binding constant on the order of ∼107 M-1, which is in agreement with the affinity constants reported in the literature for anti-IgG/IgG binding pairs and provides intrinsic detection limits of ∼400 pM for such unamplified assays.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry