Designing a surface recognition layer with high anti-fouling ability, high affinity, and high specificity is an important issue to produce high sensitivity biosensing transducers. In this study, a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) consisting of a homogeneous mixture of oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG)-terminated alkanethiolate and mercaptohexadecanoic acid (MHDA) on Au was employed for immobilizing troponin T antibody and applied in detecting cardiac troponin T by using surface plasmon resonance (SPR). The mixed SAM showed no phase segregation and exhibited human serum albumin resistance, particularly with an antibody-immobilized surface. X-ray photoemission spectra revealed that the chemical composition ratio of OEG to the mixed SAM was 69% and the OEG packing density was 82%. The specific binding of troponin Ton the designed surface indicated a good linear correlation (R = 0.991, P < 0.0009) at concentrations lower than 50 mu g mL(-1) with the limit of detection of 100 ng mL(-1) using a SPR measuring instrument. It is concluded that the mixed SAM functions as designed since it has high detection capability. high accuracy and reproducibility, as well as shows strong potential to be applied in rapid clinical diagnosis for label-free detection within 2 min. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.