Recent advances in nanotechnology are providing new possibilities for medical imaging and sensing. Gold nanostructures, for example, can enhance the fluorescence of marker dyes that are commonly used to detect biomolecules and diagnose specific diseases.
Localized surface plasmon resonance (bright areas) around a gold nanohole enhances the fluorescence of a biomarker dye (Y-shaped molecule) when a specific molecule of interest (purple circle) is present.
Copyright : © 2013 A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing
Now, Ping Bai at the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing, Singapore, and co-workers have developed a fast and inexpensive way to fabricate arrays of gold nanoholes. The researchers have shown that sensor chips built using these nanostructures can accurately detect cancer-related molecules in blood and are small enough to be used in portable medical devices.
Nanohole arrays are designed so that incident light of certain wavelengths will induce large-scale oscillations of the gold electrons, known as localized surface plasmon resonance (SPR). The localized SPR focuses the absorbed light energy to enhance fluorescence (see image).
“Commercial SPR systems are already used in hospital laboratories, but they are bulky and expensive,” says Bai. “We would like to develop small, handheld devices for on-the-spot clinical use. This requires localized SPR, for which we need nanohole arrays.”
Previously, nanohole arrays have been created using electron-beam lithography (EBL), which is expensive and time consuming. Bai and co-workers used EBL to create a nickel mold and then used the mold to print nanohole patterns onto a photoresist material. The researchers made the nanostructures by evaporating gold onto the patterned structure before peeling off the photoresist material. Because the nickel mold can be reused many times, this method — called nano-imprinting — can produce large numbers of gold nanohole arrays.
“We fabricated arrays of 140 nanometer-square nanoholes with very few defects,” says Bai. As a first demonstration, the researchers showed that a sensor chip made with their nanohole arrays could detect prostate cancer antigens in blood, and was ten times more sensitive than an identical device that used a gold film without nanoholes. Optimizing the chip design would further improve the sensitivity, Bai notes.
The team believes that these chips could be incorporated into cheap and portable point-of-care devices for rapid diagnosis of diseases such as dengue fever. “The microfluidic cartridge built using our nanohole arrays is about the size of a credit card,” says Bai. “In the future, we hope to build detectors that use very simple light sources, such as LEDs, and simple detectors similar to smartphone cameras. These devices will have widespread applications across medical science and could even be used to detect contaminants in food, water or the air.”
The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of High Performance Computing, Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and Singapore Institute of Manufacturing TechnologyAssociated links
A*STAR Research | Research asia research news
Gentle sensors for diagnosing brain disorders
29.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development
28.09.2016 | Lund University
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering