Plasmonic enhancement of fluorescence was investigated for its employment in sensing applications as well as in the design of low-cost fluorescence sensing devices. Two different plasmonic effects were considered, metal-enhanced fluorescence (MEF) and surface plasmon-coupled emission (SPCE). MEF occurs when the free space fluorescence condition is modified with sub-wavelength metallic nanoparticles resulting in an enhanced quantum yield and a decreased fluorescence lifetime. Another near-field plasmonic phenomenon is SPCE where the plasmon-coupling results in highly directional, polarized fluorescence emission.;The first aspect of the research was to explore potential sensing applications incorporating SPCE. First, the high sensitivity of the phenomenon was examined through the detection of a monolayer of green fluorescent protein as evidenced by the visible emission ring. Secondly, a potential SPCE sensing application was investigated based on the fluorescence quenching of a monolayer of a ruthenium complex by oxygen. Due to the ultra-thin sensing layer, the observed response time was less than 0.5 seconds. In addition, despite the reduction in lifetime created by the metal film, lifetime-based sensing was also demonstrated in correlation with typical intensity-based measurements.;Following the establishment of SPCE as a possible fluorescence sensing detection technique, investigations were performed leading to the development of a low-cost sensing device that incorporates SPCE for high sensitivity. First, low-cost excitation of SPCE via a light-emitting diode was observed. Next, solution-based silver deposition was studied as an alternative technique for the production of SPCE slides. The SPCE from these slides was similar to that observed from conventional vapor-deposited slides. Also, a SPCE detection scheme was designed and tested leading to a 500-fold enhancement of the free space signal with an almost 35-fold increase in the signal-to-noise ratio.;In addition to SPCE, the benefits of MEF can also be used to improve current fluorescence-based assays. In this case, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method for protein quantification was modified by the presence of sub-wavelength metallic nanoparticles resulting in faster assay times with similar sensitivity.;In summary, the use of plasmonic structures to enhance fluorescence was demonstrated allowing for highly sensitive, rapid detection of analytes.