Oct 6, 2006
Optical laser system senses biomolecules
Currently, one non-invasive method for complex disease identification is based on determining the proteins that are the markers for the disease. There has been a lot of emphasis on developing tag-free methods for rapid protein marker identification. Another important requirement is the ability to simultaneously detect multiple proteins, as a single protein marker generally does not result in conclusive diagnosis.
In a paper in Nanotechnology researchers at Portland State University, US, demonstrated a technique for rapid protein identification as well as determining the density of the protein biomolecules using an optical laser-based system. This technique also has potential for performing multiplexed detection.
The findings show that it is possible to develop a highly sensitive, optical biomolecule sensor that can distinguish between biomolecules based on a variation in light intensity due to a change in the path of coupled input light. The variation to the coupled light intensity and path depends on the nature of the biomolecule and the density of the biomolecules.
The Portland State team demonstrated that they could use standard microstructures fabricated in a non-cleanroom environment to develop a platform-based optical sensor that can detect specific protein biomolecules.
This technique has potential for performing multiplexed protein detection. The eventual goal is to develop optical lab-on-a-chip devices capable of detecting biomolecules that are indicators of specific disease states.
About the author
Dr Shalini Prasad is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Portland State University, US. Her research group focuses on developing multifunctional devices for biosensing applications.