Robust gold nanorod substrates were fabricated for refractive index sensing based on localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). The substrate sensitivity was 170 nm/RIU with a figure of merit of 1.3. To monitor biomolecular interactions, the nanorod surfaces were covered with a self-assembled monolayer and conjugated to antibodies by carbodiimide cross-linking. Interactions with a specific secondary antibody were monitored through shifts in the LSPR spectral extinction peak. The resulting binding rates and equilibrium constant were in good agreement with literature values for an antibody-antigen system. The nanorod LSPR sensors were also shown to be sensitive and specific. These results demonstrate that given a sufficiently stable nanoparticle substrate with a well defined chemical interface, LSPR sensing yields similar results to the surface plasmon resonance technique, yet with much simpler instrumentation.
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