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A new, multiple wavelength surface plasmon resonance apparatus for imaging applications is presented. It can be used for biosensing, e.g., for monitoring of chemical and biological reactions in real time with label-free molecules. A setup with a fixed incident angle in the Kretschmann configuration with gold as the supporting metal is described, both theoretically and experimentally. Simulations of the sensor response based on independently recorded optical (ellipsometric) data of gold show that the sensitivity for three-dimensional recognition layers (bulk) increases with increasing wavelength. For two-dimensional recognition layers (adlayer) maximum sensitivity is obtained within a limited wavelength range. In this situation, the rejection of bulk disturbances, e.g., emanating from temperature variations, decreases, with increasing wavelength. For imaging surface plasmon resonance the spatial resolution decreases with increasing wavelength. Hence, there is always a compromise between spatial resolution, bulk disturbance rejection, and sensitivity. Most importantly, by simultaneously using multiple wavelengths, it is possible to maintain a high sensitivity and accuracy over a large dynamic range. Furthermore, our simulations show that the sensitivity is independent of the refractive index of the prism. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.