Year of Publication

2009

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. J. Todd Hastings

Abstract

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensors are advantageous to other techniques of sensing chemical binding, offering quantitative, real-time, label-free results. Previous work has demonstrated the effectiveness of using dual-mode SPR sensors to differentiate between surface and background effects, making the sensors more robust to dynamic environments. This work demonstrates a technique that improves upon a previously optimized planar film dual-mode SPR sensor’s LOD by introducing a periodic array of subwavelength nano-gaps throughout the plasmon supporting material. First, general figures of merit for a sensor having an arbitrary number of modes are studied. Next, the mode effective index dispersion and magnetic field profiles of the two strongly bound modes found using a gap width of 20nm are analyzed. Qualitative analysis of the results demonstrates how such a design can enable better LODs in terms of each figure of merit. By optimizing a nano-gap enhanced sensor containing 20nm gaps, it is quantitatively demonstrated that the resulting modes improve upon almost every figure of merit, especially with respect to the orthogonality and magnitude of the sensitivity vectors, resulting in LODs approximately a factor of five less than the optimal planar design.

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