The study presented herein investigates a novel arrangement of fiber-optic biosensors based on a tilted fiber Bragg grating (TFBG) coated with noble metal nanoparticles, either gold nanocages (AuNC) or gold nanospheres (AuNS). The biosensors constructed for this study demonstrated increased specificity and lowered detection limits for the target protein than a reference sensor without gold nanoparticles. The sensing film was fabricated by a series of thin-film and monolayer depositions to attach the gold nanoparticles to the surface of the TFBG using only covalent bonds. Though the gold nanoparticle integration had not yet been optimized for the most efficient coverage with minimum number of nanoparticles, binding AuNS and AuNC to the TFBG biosensor decreased the minimum detected target concentrations from 90nM for the reference sensor, to 11pM and 8pM respectively. This improvement of minimum detection is the result of a reduced non-specific absorption onto the gold nanoparticles (by functionalization of the external surface of the gold nanoparticles), and of an optical field enhancement due to coupling between the photonic modes of the optical fiber and the localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPR) of the gold nanoparticles. This coupling also increased the sensitivity of the TFBG biosensor to changes in its local environment. The dissociation constant (Kd) of the target protein was also characterized with our sensing platform and found to be in good agreement with that of previous studies.

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Keywords Avidin-biotin complex, Biosensors, Gold nanocages, Gold nanospheres, Tilted fiber Bragg grating
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Journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics
Staff, A, Ianoul, A.I, Albert, J, & Lepinay, Sandrine. (2014). Improved detection limits of protein optical fiber biosensors coated with gold nanoparticles. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 52, 337–344. doi:10.1016/j.bios.2013.08.058