Innovative light-delivery technique improves biosensors

phys.org | 5/17/2018 | Staff
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There is a continuing need for practical chip-based sensors that can be used at the point of care to detect cancer and other diseases. An innovative way to inject light into tiny silicon microdisks could help meet this need by bringing down the cost and improving the performance of chip-based biosensors. The advance could eventually lead to a portable and low cost optical sensor for early-stage cancer diagnostics.

Microdisks are a type of microscale resonator that use the whispering-gallery optical effect to confine and enhance light that enters the disk. Just as the curved walls of a whispering gallery carry sound waves to allow whispers to be clearly heard across a room, the curved inner surface of a microdisk carries light waves across the disk, enhancing the light. This allows the microdisk to boost a light-based signal coming from a cell, protein or virus of interest, allowing more sensitive detection of subtle changes associated with diseases such as lupus, fibromyalgia and certain heart problems.

Gallery - Mode - Micro-resonators - Molecules - Application

"Although there are whispering gallery mode micro-resonators that can already be used to resolve single molecules, their application is limited by problems in device repeatability, stability and wavelength range," said research team leader Qinghai Song from Harbin Institute of Technology, China. "Our new design enables excellent device performance that works with a variety of wavelengths with low cost, higher stability and better device repeatability."

In Optica, The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, the researchers detail their new end-fire injection configuration, which offers a simple, cost-effective and efficient way to get light into the microdisk resonator. They also show that devices using microdisks and end-fire injection can be used to detect temperature changes and the presence of nanoparticles.

Researchers - Goal - Injection - Technique - Sensor

The researchers' ultimate goal is to use their new end-fire injection technique to create a portable and low-cost sensor that can...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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