Plasma-treated polystyrene film that enhances binding efficiency for sensitive and label-free protein biosensing

Bihong Guo, Shaopeng Li, Lusheng Song, Mo Yang, Wenfei Zhou, Deependra Tyagi, Jinsong Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A plasma-treated ultrathin polystyrene (PS) film surface was explored as a simple, robust, and low-cost surface chemistry solution for protein biosensing applications. This surface could dramatically improve the binding efficiency of the protein-protein interactions, which is defined as the binding signal per immobilized ligand. The PS-modified protein biosensor was readily fabricated by spin coating and plasma treatment. Various parameters for fabrication, including the concentration of the PS solution, rate of spin coating, and duration of plasma treatment, were systematically optimized based on the improvement of fluorescence signal yielded by the microfluidic network-aided fluorescence immunoassay. The performance of the label-free protein detection on the optimized surfaces was further evaluated by surface plasmon resonance imaging (SPRi). PS surfaces with optimal fabrication parameters exhibited up to an 620% enhancement of the protein binding response and approximately 210% of the protein binding per immobilized protein ligand compared with a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) surface of 11-mercapto undecanoic acid (MUA). The relationship between the fabrication parameters used and changes to the surface chemistry and the morphological properties were characterized with atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). It was revealed that the morphological changes observed in the plasma-treated PS film were the dominant factor for the improvement of the protein bioassay performance, rather than the chemical changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Plasma treatment
  • Polystyrene film
  • Protein binding efficiency
  • Protein biosensor
  • Surface plasmon resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


Dive into the research topics of 'Plasma-treated polystyrene film that enhances binding efficiency for sensitive and label-free protein biosensing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this