Minimization of detection volume by surface-plasmon-coupled emission

Z. Gryczynski, J. Borejdo, N. Calander, E. G. Matveeva, I. Gryczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We report theoretical predictions and experimental observations of the reduced detection volume with the use of surface-plasmon-coupled emission (SPCE). The effective fluorescence volume (detection volume) in SPCE experiments depends on two near-field factors: the depth of evanescent wave excitation and a distance-dependent coupling of excited fluorophores to the surface plasmons. With direct excitation of the sample (reverse Kretschmann excitation) the detection volume is restricted only by the distance-dependent coupling of the excitation to the surface plasmons. However, with the excitation through the glass prism at surface plasmon resonance angle (Kretschmann configuration), the detection volume is a product of evanescent wave penetration depth and distance-dependent coupling. In addition, the detection volume is further reduced by a metal quenching of excited fluorophores at a close proximity (below 10 nm). The height of the detected volume size is 40-70 nm, depending on the orientation of the excited dipoles. We show that, by using the Kretschmann configuration in a microscope with a high-numerical-aperture objective (1.45) together with confocal detection, the detection volume can be reduced to 1-2 attoL. The strong dependence of the coupling to the surface plasmons on the orientation of excited dipoles can be used to study the small conformational changes of macromolecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2006


  • Attoliter
  • Fluorescence microscope
  • Minimized detection volume
  • Surface-plasmon-coupled emission


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