Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Jeremy M Dawson

Committee Co-Chair

Lawrence A Hornak

Committee Member

Dimitris Korakakis


Improving the sensitivity of existing biosensors is an active research topic that cuts across several disciplines, including engineering and biology. Optical biosensors are the one of the most diverse class of biosensors which can be broadly categorized into two types based on the detection scheme: label-based and label-free detection. In label-based detection, the target bio-molecules are labeled with dyes or tags that fluoresce upon excitation, indicating the presence of target molecules. Label-based detection is highly-sensitive, capable of single molecule detection depending on the detector type used. One method of improving the sensitivity of label-based fluorescence detection is by enhancement of the emission of the labels by coupling them with metal nanostructures. This approach is referred as plasmon-enhanced fluorescence (PEF). PEF is achieved by increasing the electric field around the nano metal structures through plasmonics. This increased electric field improves the enhancement from the fluorophores which in turn improves the photon emission from the fluorophores which, in turn, improves the limit of detection. Biosensors taking advantage of the plasmonic properties of metal films and nanostructures have emerged an alternative, low-cost, high sensitivity method for detecting labeled DNA. Localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) sensors employing noble metal nanostructures have recently attracted considerable attention as a new class of plasmonic nanosensors.;In this work, the design, fabrication and characterization of plasmonic nanostructures is carried out. Finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulations were performed using software from Lumerical Inc. to design a novel LSPR structure that exhibit resonance overlapping with the absorption and emission wavelengths of quantum dots (QD). Simulations of a composite Au/SiO2 nanopillars on silicon substrate were performed using FDTD software to show peak plasmonic enhancement at QD emission wavelength (560nm). A multi-step fabrication process was developed to create plasmonic nanostructures, and the optical characterization of emission enhancement was performed.