The analysis of surface water, groundwater, drinking water as well as sewage is important to get information about the contamination of the water cycle. Currently, these time-consuming investigations require special equipment, like for example hyphenated mass spectrometry. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is a faster alternative as it is highly sensitive to changes in the dielectric medium next to a thin metal layer and makes it a quasi-universal detector. Therefore, and due to the labelfree nature, SPR is a widely used sensing tool for real‐time monitoring of molecular interactions of various analytes. SPR imaging (SPRi) has several advantages to standard surface plasmon resonance, as it allows to observe many analytes in parallel as well as the integration of referencing technologies. However, the homogenous illumination of a large area (several millimeters) with a small light source is challenging and demands new approaches. Allopurinol, a drug used to lower the blood concentration of urate and hence decrease the affection of gout, gets metabolized to oxipurinol in the body and dropped out almost entirely by urinary excretion. After wastewater treatment, concentrations of oxipurinol up to 21.7 μg•L<sup>-1</sup> are detected. Further tracking of oxipurinol in the urban water cycle showed its presence in rivers and streams or even in groundwater. Therefore, the high biological stability of oxipurinol allows this molecule to be used as a marker for domestic wastewater in the environment. For the detection of oxipurinol by SPR graphene was used as receptive layer, as the analyte can bind via π-stacking to this surface. An SPRi technique was developed and compared to conventional SPR system for the detection of oxipurinol.
Surface plasmon resonance depends on the dielectric medium at the vicinity and makes it a quasi-universal detector. Therefore, and due to the label-free nature, SPR is a widely used sensing tool for real‐time monitoring molecular interactions of various analytes. However, detection of highly diluted analytes and small molecules (< 400 Da) is still challenging. Gold nanohole arrays provide plasmonic hotspots with improved surface sensitivity and 2D carbon nanomaterials enable binding near the surface. Both effects together are promising in the development of SPR sensors for the efficient determination of small molecules. Graphene is known for efficient binding of molecules with delocalized aromatic π-systems. Additionally, the electromagnetic field is locally enhanced and modulated by the interaction of graphene photonics with the plasmonics of metal nanostructures. The advantages of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) graphene over reduced graphene oxide (rGO) is illustrated by a proof of concept study. In comparison to substrates consisting of a continuous film the surface sensitivity is enhanced for a nanohole arrays and further improved for CVD graphene functionalization in contrast to rGO. The feasibility of the sensor was demonstrated for the detection of adenine down to a concentration of 0.9 μM.