Optical resonators for label-free bio-molecular sensing
In this project, we aim at developing a label-free bio-molecular detection technology for making a highly sensitive, low-cost, integrated sensors. Such sensors fulfill the pressing needs of an array of applications, such as point-of-care detection of biomarkers for medical diagnosis and monitoring, high-throughput screening in pharmaceutical drug discovery, as well as advanced intelligence and biodefense applications.
The sensor works by detecting refractive index changes induced by surface binding of target molecules. Very high sensitivity can be achieved by leveraging the strong resonant interaction between molecules and photons circulating in an optical resonator. The detection mechanism applies for a wide range of molecular species, including proteins (antigens), DNA strands and small molecules (e.g. drug molecules).
Highlights of the project include theoretical demonstration of the superior sensitivity of resonator sensing over other optical techniques such as surface plasmonic resonance, and experimental realization of sensitive molecular detection using high-Q chalcogenide glass optofluidic resonators. We are also actively exploring the technology commercialization for point-of-care disease diagnosis.
J. Hu, X. Sun, A. Agarwal, and L. C. Kimerling, "Design guidelines for optical resonator biochemical sensors," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B. 26, 1032-1041 (2009).
J. Hu, N. Carlie, N. Feng, L. Petit, A. Agarwal, K. Richardson, and L. C. Kimerling, "Planar waveguide-coupled, high-index-contrast, high-Q resonators in chalcogenide glass for sensing," Opt. Lett. 33, 2500-2502 (2008).
(Invited Review) L. Petit, J. Hu, N. Carlie, B. Zdyrko, T. Anderson, A. Agarwal, I. Luzinov, M. Richardson, L. C. Kimerling, and K. Richardson, "Development of novel integrated bio/chemical sensor systems using chalcogenide glass materials," Int. J. Nanotechnol. 6, 799-815 (2009).
(Invited) "Planar Chalcogenide Glass Microcavities: A Versatile Device Platform," 8th Pacific Rim Conference on Ceramic and Glass Technology, Vancouver, Canada (2009).