The Berini Group

 

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Research: Sensing using long-range surface plasmons (OCE, Spectalis)

The purpose of this project is to advance a sensing platform for biomolecular interaction analysis, designed to enable the reliable and accurate measurement of binding kinetics between any two molecules (unlabelled or untagged) in real-time. The platform exploits an integrated optics technology based on long-range surface plasmon-polaritons (LRSPPs), which is highly surface sensitive and low-loss. Since it is also integrated then high-sensitivity high-throughput sensor arrays are possible. The project builds on experimental and theoretical results indicating that at least a 10 improvement in detection limit is achievable relative to the best systems currently available. This project will demonstrate experimentally biosensing using this approach.


 

Mach-Zehnder interferometers (MZIs) on membranes. (a) Stitched microscope image of a full non-equal arm MZI (NE-MZI). The membrane width and length are about 340 mm and 3 mm, respectively. (b) Microscope image of the experimental set-up showing three membrane structures immersed in optical fluid having an index close to that of water, each membrane bearing an MZI. The brass immersion bath is visible through the membranes but the metal MZIs on the membranes are not apparent at this magnification. (c) High magnification image of the region enclosed by the dashed green box revealing the metal Y-junction combiner at the output of an NE-MZI and showing a probe contacting the stripe. (d) Microscope image captured via infra-red camera showing scattered light at l0 = 1310 nm originating from the LRSPP propagating along the structure. The bright spot at the centre of the yellow circle corresponds to the contact point of the probe with the stripe. (Ref. J38 under Publications.)