Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey T. Hastings


Surface-plasmon-resonance (SPR) sensors are widely used in biological, chemical, medical, and environmental sensing. This dissertation describes the design and development of dual-mode, self-referencing SPR sensors supporting two surface-plasmon modes (long- and short-range) which can differentiate surface binding interactions from bulk index changes at a single sensing location. Dual-mode SPR sensors have been optimized for surface limit of detection (LOD). In a wavelength interrogated optical setup, both surface plasmons are simultaneously excited at the same location and incident angle but at different wavelengths. To improve the sensor performance, a new approach to dual-mode SPR sensing is presented that offers improved differentiation between surface and bulk effects. By using an angular interrogation, both surface plasmons are simultaneously excited at the same location and wavelength but at different angles. Angular interrogation offers at least a factor of 3.6 improvement in surface and bulk cross-sensitivity compared to wavelength-interrogated dual-mode SPR sensors.

Multi-mode SPR sensors supporting at least three surface-plasmon modes can differentiate a target surface effect from interfering surface effects and bulk index changes. This dissertation describes a tri-mode SPR sensor which supports three surface plasmon resonance modes at one single sensing position, where each mode is excited at a different wavelength. The tri-mode SPR sensor can successfully differentiate specific binding from the non-specific binding and bulk index changes.