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.