Sensitivity of surface plasmon resonance sensors based on metallic columnar thin films in the spectral and angular interrogations

Atef Shalabney, C. Khare, B. Rauschenbach, I. Abdulhalim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) from metallic Columnar Thin Films (CTFs) of porosity as high as 0.5 was experimentally and theoretically investigated. The CTF layers were prepared by the Glancing Angle Deposition (GLAD) method. The SPR features were investigated in both the angular and the spectral modes. In the angular interrogation, increasing the porosity causes broadening to the dip width, shift to larger resonance angles, and increase of the sensitivity to analyte refractive index (RI) changes by about threefold compared with closed metal films. In the spectral interrogation, on the other hand, the resonance wavelengths are red-shifted for porous films; hence their spectral sensitivities are higher than those of closed films under the same experimental conditions. Nevertheless, the sensitivity behavior versus the resonance wavelength is similar to that of SPR sensors based on dense film layers. The shapes of the nanostructures constituting the CTF are described as ellipsoidal inclusions in which the effective permittivity dyadic of the composite material is calculated using the Bruggeman formalism with exact depolarization dyadics. The correlation between the sensitivity enhancement and the electromagnetic field intensity at the interface between the metallic film and the analyte was examined. Electromagnetic fields analyses were performed using the general 4 × 4 propagation matrices of general homogenous biaxial layers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2011


  • Optical biosensors
  • Sculptured thin films
  • Sensitivity enhancement
  • Surface plasmon resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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