Enhanced sensitivity with microhole arrays

The analytical technique surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is mainly defined by two classes of plasmonic materials: nanoparticles (mostly nanospheres) and thin films. Both classes exhibit nanometric physical features and present distinct optical characteristics fitting different applications. For instance, nanoparticles are the most sensitive materials but they cannot be deployed in complex media such biofluids (e.g., blood, serum, urine) for SPR measurements as the media will generate optical interferences.

Although less sensitive, thin films address all the complex media issue in addition to be easier to manufacture for large scale deployment in industry applications. Effort to combine the strength of both plasmonic materials into a single one have been driven by researchers. Most successful efforts started from the thin film end of the spectrum and moved towards integrating nanoparticle features to thin films.


  • Affinité researchers followed this approach and discovered a class of material, thin film microhole arrays (“microhole arrays”), capable of enhancing the SPR signal of conventional thin film up to 3x  when excited in total internal reflection (Kretschmann configuration).

  • Microhole arrays SPR combines the ability to probe complex media of thin films with the high sensitivity of nanoparticles.

Key Literature

  • Live, L.S., Dhawan, A., Gibson, K.F. et al. Anal Bioanal Chem (2012) 404: 2859.