The proposed research will develop a new sensors that can detect cancer biomarkers at high sensitivity and at low cost. The principle the sensor design is based on, a new transduction mechanism, may make it easier to use in practical application. The sensor can be modified for measuring other biological entities and can potentially have very broad impact in medical diagnostics, environmental measurements and food safety.
The proposed research focuses on a new transduction mechanisms and design of biosensing platform using hot electron energy transfer generated by localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). The proposed biosensor will utilize a LSPR-based hybrid plasmon device structure consisting of the combination of both metallic nanoparticles (NPs) and a field effect transistor (FET), thereby engendering highly sensitive label-free detection of biomolecular interactions. Plasmon FET does not require bulky optical readout instrumentation, while taking advantages of plasmon based sensing. Unique characteristics such as electrically isolated plasmonic sensing surface, on-chip optical-to-electrical conversion and two-color lock-in amplifier based sensing will ensure robust sensing, an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, and real-time detection of molecular interaction. This sensor design allows the reduction in size of sensing area beyond the diffraction limit of light. Thus, it has the potential to lower cost, highly sensitive and rapid detection of disease biomarkers. This proposed research will carry out: 1) development of plasmon-FET sensing platform on a glass substrate; 2) evaluation using spiked PBS and clinical samples; and 3) a multiplexed sensing demonstration using four different biomarkers for prostate cancer diagnosis. The intellectual merit of the proposed activity is mainly the exploration of a new promising LSPR device using efficient hot electron emission and amplification. Successful development will lead the multiplexed microchip based sensing technology for a point-of-care device and a lab-on-a-chip based sensor assay. During the course of the project innovative materials will be developed which a focus on nanotechnology in general and nanophotonics and LSPR in particular, as well as promotion of interdisciplinary research (engineering, biochemistry and clinical research) for the graduate students, and provide research opportunities for undergraduate students.