Localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) has emerged as a leader among label-free biosensing techniques in that it offers sensitive, robust, and facile detection. Traditional LSPR-based biosensing utilizes the sensitivity of the plasmon frequency to changes in local index of refraction at the nanoparticle surface. Although surface plasmon resonance technologies are now widely used to measure biomolecular interactions, several challenges remain. In this article, we have categorized these challenges into four categories: improving sensitivity and limit of detection, selectivity in complex biological solutions, sensitive detection of membrane-associated species, and the adaptation of sensing elements for point-of-care diagnostic devices. The first section of this article will involve a conceptual discussion of surface plasmon resonance and the factors affecting changes in optical signal detected. The following sections will discuss applications of LSPR biosensing with an emphasis on recent advances and approaches to overcome the four limitations mentioned above. First, improvements in limit of detection through various amplification strategies will be highlighted. The second section will involve advances to improve selectivity in complex media through self-assembled monolayers, “plasmon ruler” devices involving plasmonic coupling, and shape complementarity on the nanoparticle surface. The following section will describe various LSPR platforms designed for the sensitive detection of membrane-associated species. Finally, recent advances towards multiplexed and microfluidic LSPR-based devices for inexpensive, rapid, point-of-care diagnostics will be discussed.
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