Chapter 1

Surface Plasmons for Biodetection

Pavel Adam, Marek Piliarik, Hana Šípová, Tomáš Špringer, Milan Vala and Jiimagesí Homola

Institute of Photonics and Electronics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic

1.1 Introduction

The diffusion of inorganic and biological worlds represents an important paradigm of modern science and technology [1]. Biophotonics stands as an emerging field of research at the crossroads of physical, chemical, and life sciences. The integration of photonics, biology, and nanotechnology is leading to a new generation of devices that makes it possible to characterize chemical and other molecular properties and to discover novel phenomena and biological processes occurring at the molecular level. Biophotonics is widely regarded as the key science on which the next generation of clinical tools and biomedical research instruments will be based.

The last two decades have witnessed an increasing effort devoted to the research and development of optical biosensors and biochips worldwide. Recent scientific and technological advances have demonstrated that such devices hold tremendous potential for applications in areas such as genomics, proteomics, medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, food analysis, agriculture, and security [2–4]. Label-free optical biosensors present a unique technology that enables the direct observation of molecular ...

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