The phenomenon of free electron-photon oscillations, discovered in the 1900’s has changed the way we think about metals. Metals are no longer considered as devoid of optical properties. Applications of these properties have been reported in multiple disciplines. In this report, we discuss the phenomenon of surface plasmon resonance and its application in various sensors.
Introduction to Surface Plasmons
During an experiment conducted by Wood , an anomaly in the fringe pattern formed by light reflected by a mirror with diffraction grating was observed. This was later explained by Otto , Kretschmann and Raether  as excitation of surface plasmons i.e. free electrons at the interface of two materials of different refractive index. This phenomenon of excitation leading to the collective oscillation of electron-photon is known as Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR).
There are certain conditions under which SPR is exhibited. These can be described by considering an experimental setup  as in Figure 1a. When polarized light is incident on a thin (50-100nm) metal (Gold) film on top of a prism, it will act as a mirror and reflect the light. Changing the incident angle causes change in the intensity of the reflected light. From the plot of intensity of reflected light and angle of incidence, it is clear that at a certain angle the intensity of reflected light is minimum. At this angle (called the resonance angle or SPR angle), the incident totally reflected beam generates an evanescent wave which excites the free electrons on the surface causing SPR.
Figure 1 - a. A gold coated sensor chip of thickness of about 50-100nm is placed on a prism on which polarized light is incident. Reflected light is measured using a dete...
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...tibodies against RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) Antibodies against the virus Direct detection 
Histamine – protein formed in body during allergic reaction Histamine Inhibition detection 
Troponin - cardiac injury marker Biotinylated antibodies Direct and Sandwich 
Advances made in during the past 10 years in SPR technology have led to the development of new biosensors which are being used to perform faster and more specific detection of various chemical or biological analytes. Further evolution of SPR biosensors is expected to lead to more sensitive and specific detection of analytes from more complex samples. These will benefit in many ways to improve the standard of living and early detection of diseases will lead to a better understanding of these diseases which might lead to development of vaccines for previously incurable diseases.
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