Nanoplasmonic biosensors and chemosensors


In-line-capable bio- and chemosensors are steadily gaining importance in the constantly growing fields of application in medicine, biotechnology, food technology and environmental analysis. For continuous process monitoring, concentrations of (bio)chemical measurands must be determined quickly and directly on site, which cannot be accomplished with current analytical laboratory methods.

Specifically functionalized, fast and process-integrated

To address these needs, the research group is focusing on a nanoplasmonic sensor platform in miniature format. Therefore, the optical laboratory method of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy, which is used to specifically and rapidly detect molecules with high accuracy, was further developed into an on-site analytical method. The compact optical system consists of a sensor chip developed and manufactured at Fraunhofer IKTS on a foil, a LED light source and an optoelectronic readout unit. Since no further optical components are required, the system is compact, robust and cost-effective, thus allowing direct integration into industrial equipment.

By means of a specific chemical functionalization (with polymers and biomolecules), the surface of the sensor chip can be activated so that the presence of a specific, (bio)chemical molecule (=analyte) in a mixture of substances causes a concentration dependent change of the optical properties of the sensor.


Fields of application


  • In-line process monitoring of (fermentation) tanks
  • On-site analysis of anthropogenic trace contaminants (e.g. diclofenac) in water treatment in nanomolar (nM) to micromolar concentration ranges
  • Plasmonic measurement and monitoring of process parameters, such as ion concentrations and pH, via swelling of hydrogels


Services offered


  • Electrodynamic simulation of nanostructured gold surfaces/sensor surfaces
  • Fabrication of gold surfaces/sensor surfaces by nanoimprint lithography
  • Realization of microfluidic sensor chips
  • Development of adapted (bio)assays for on-site process monitoring and environmental monitoring
  • Targeted (bio)chemical functionalization of the measurement surfaces
  • Development and construction of process-integrated devices (together with industrial partners)
  • Comprehensive optical characterization of (bio)assays




  • Microcontact printer
  • (L)SPR-devices
  • Sputter coater
  • UV/Ozon-treatment
  • Plasma cleaner
  • Spectrophotometer
  • High resolution microscopy
  • Microfluidic processor
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Compact biosensor/chemosensor for continuous process monitoring.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Miniaturized evaluation electronics of the biosensor/chemosensor.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Implementation as a laboratory instrument, for example, for the detection of trace substances such as diclofenac in wastewater treatment.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
General view of the real sensor chip in the holder with the lid open.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Foil stack structure of a sensor chip with four nanostructured measuring areas in the bottom layer for surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Scanning electron micrograph of the sensor chip's measuring surface structured by nanoimprint lithography.