- Experimental and theoretical study of sensors based on enhanced transmission through periodic metal nanoslits is presented. Our approach consists of the design of one-dimensional nanoslits array and its application in sensing for water quality control. Rigorous coupled waves analysis was used for the design and fit to the experimental data. Two types of surface plasmon resonance excitations are shown to be possible, one at the upper grating–analyte interface and one at the lower grating–substrate interface. This latter resonance is shown to be affected by the multiple interference or cavity-type effects. Those structures were fabricated by deposition of the metal layer and electron beam lithography of the nanostructure. We found that Ag-based periodic array exhibits the highest sensitivity to refractive index variations. Sensitivity enhancement was measured by ethanol concentrations in water. Stability of the Ag-based sensor was improved by covering the grating with less than 15 nm polymethyl methacrylate capping layer without deterioration of the sensitivity.