Sensing Voltage Dynamics with Differential Intensity Surface Plasmon Resonance Systems

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Project Summary

This project is directed at researching the capacity of surface plasmon resonance systems for label-free detection of bio-electrical signals. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensors are conventionally used to detect molecular interactions at the metal-dielectric interface. Additionally, they demonstrated the ability to detect the externally-applied voltage, which characterises them as electrodes with optical readout. As the project is motivated by resolving weak signals associated with dynamic processes, It aims to (i) estimate the limit of voltage detection of SPR using theoretical and experimental approaches and (ii) the response time of the sensors to demonstrate the ability of the technique to resolve the transient electrical signals.


Therefore, the physical properties of the interface were investigated using optics and electrochemical models. The theoretical results were then validated experimentally using a bespoke SPR system. The project also aimed to investigate the ability of the sensing technique to detect the dynamic bio-electrical signals at 1 KHz.

Voltage Sensing System

In order to study the voltage sensitivity of surface plasmon resonance, an SPR-basedvoltage sensing system has been designed and tested. It consists of the opticalcon�guration and the electrochemical unit. The optical con�guration is used toexcite surface plasmons at the metal-electrolyte interface while the electrochemicalunit is used to control the potential at this interface. This chapter presents thedesign of the optical system and the investigation of the sources of instability. Theintegrated system has been tested for detecting the interfacial potential using theelectrochemical system and the optical system, simultaneously.