Surface characterization and antifouling properties of nanostructured gold chips for imaging surface plasmon resonance biosensing

S. Joshi, P. Pellacani, T.A. van Beek, H. Zuilhof, M.W.F. Nielen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) optical sensing is a label-free technique for real-time monitoring of biomolecular interactions. Recently, a portable imaging SPR (iSPR) prototype instrument, featuring a nanostructured gold chip, has been developed. In the present work, we investigated the crucial first steps, prior to eventual use of the nanostructured iSPR chip, i.e., its surface modification, in-depth surface characterization and the antifouling performance. Results were compared with conventional flat (i)SPR gold chips having the same surface chemistries, viz. different types of polyethylene glycol and zwitterionic polymers. Characterization of the (i)SPR chips before and after surface modification was performed using atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), water contact angle (WCA), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and direct analysis in real time high resolution mass spectrometry (DART-HRMS). The antifouling properties were then studied using the nanostructured chip in the portable iSPR instrument and the flat gold chip in conventional SPR setup. The zwitterionic polymer surface chemistries showed the best antifouling properties. Comparison of the nanostructured iSPR chips with conventional flat (i)SPR gold chips showed that the latter perform slightly better in terms of surface modification as well as antifouling properties. The portable iSPR instrument is almost as sensitive as conventional iSPR (IBIS) and nine times less sensitive than conventional SPR (Biacore 3000). The nanostructured iSPR chip, along with the portable instrument, offers the advantage of about ten-fold reduction in instrument size, weight and costs compared to conventional (i)SPR instruments using flat gold, thus making it highly interesting for future biosensing applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-514
JournalSensors and Actuators B: Chemical
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • mass-spectrometry
  • nonspecific adsorption
  • zwitterionic polymers
  • organic monolayers
  • films
  • spr
  • functionalization
  • immobilization
  • microscopy
  • proteins


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