It is well known that optical fiber sensors have attracted the attention of scientific community due to its intrinsic advantages, such as lightweight, small size, portability, remote sensing, immunity to electromagnetic interferences and the possibility of multiplexing several signals. This field has shown a dramatic growth thanks to the creation of sensitive thin films onto diverse optical fiber configurations. In this sense, a wide range of optical fiber devices have been successfully fabricated for monitoring biological, chemical, medical or physical parameters. In addition, the use of nanoparticles into the sensitive thin films has resulted in an enhancement in the response time, robustness or sensitivity in the optical devices, which is associated to the inherent properties of nanoparticles (high surface area ratio or porosity). Among all of them, the metallic nanoparticles are of great interest for sensing applications due to the presence of strong absorption bands in the visible and near-infrared regions, due to their localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPR). These optical resonances are due to the coupling of certain modes of the incident light to the collective oscillation of the conduction electrons of the metallic nanoparticles. The LSPR extinction bands are very useful for sensing applications as far as they can be affected by refractive index variations of the surrounding medium of the nanoparticles, and therefore, it is possible to create optical sensors with outstanding properties such as high sensitivity and optical self-reference. In this chapter, the attractive optical properties of metal nanostructures and their implementation into different optical fiber configuration for sensing or biosensing applications will be studied.
Part of the book: Nanoplasmonics