Abstract In modern biomedical technology, development of high performance sensing methods for dopamine (DA) is a critical issue because of its vital role in human metabolism. We report here, a new kind of bioaffinity sensor for DA based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR) using a D 3 dopamine receptor (DA-RC) as a recognition element. A conjugate of DA was synthesized using bovine serum albumin (BSA) protein and was characterized by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). The biosensor surface was constructed by the immobilization of the DA–BSA conjugate onto an SPR gold surface by physical adsorption. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) investigations revealed that the DA–BSA conjugate was homogeneously distributed over the sensor surface. Specific interaction of the DA-RC with the immobilized DA–BSA conjugate was studied by SPR. Based on the principle of indirect competitive inhibition, the biosensor could detect DA in a linear dynamic range from 85 pg/ml (ppt) to 700 ng/ml (ppb). The biosensor was highly specific for DA and showed no significant interference from potent interferences such as ascorbic acid (AA), uric acid (UA) and other DA analogues viz., 3,4 dihydroxyphenyl acetic acid (DOPAC) and 3-(3,4 dihydroxyphenyl)-alanine (DOPA). The sensor surface displayed a high level of stability during repeated regeneration and affinity reaction cycles. Since this biosensor is simple, effective and is based on utilization of natural receptor, our study presents an encouraging scope for development of portable detection systems for in-vitro and in-vivo measurement of DA in clinical and medical diagnostics.