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A CMOS compatible optical biosensing system based on local evanescent field shift mechanism




Yan, Rongjin, author
Lear, Kevin L., advisor
Dandy, David S., committee member
Chandrasekar, V., committee member
Notaros, Branislav, committee member

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The need for label-free integrated optical biosensors has dramatically increased in recent years. Integrated optical biosensors have many advantages, including low-cost, and portability. They can be applied to many fields, including clinical diagnostics, food safety, environmental monitoring, and biosecurity applications. One of the most important applications is point-of-care diagnosis, which means the disease could be tested at or near the site of patient care rather than in a laboratory. We are exploring the issues of design, modeling and measurement of a novel chip-scale local evanescent array coupled (LEAC) biosensor, which is an ideal platform for point-of-care diagnosis. Until now, three generations of LEAC samples have been designed, fabricated and tested. The 1st generation of LEAC sensor without a buried detector array was characterized using a commercial near field scanning optical microscope (NSOM). The sample was polished and was end-fire light coupled using single mode fiber. The field shift mechanism in this proof-to-concept configuration without buried detector arrays has been validated with inorganic adlayers [1], photoresist [2] and different concentrations of CRP proteins [3]. Mode beating phenomena was predicted by the beam propagation method (BPM) and was observed in the NSOM measurement. A 2nd generation LEAC sensor with a buried detector array was fabricated using 0.35μm CMOS process at the Avogo Technologies Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado. Characterizations with both single layer patternings, including photoresist as well as BSA [4] and immunoassay complexes [5] were done with cooperative efforts from various research groups. The BPM method was used to study the LEAC sensor, and the simulation results demonstrated the sensitivity of the LEAC sensor is 16%/nm, which was proved to match well with the experimental data [6]. Different antigen/antibodies, including mouse IgG and Hspx (a tuberculosis reactive antigen), have been used to test the immunoassay ability of LEAC sensor [7]. Many useful data have been collected by using the 2nd generation LEAC chip. However, during the characterization of the Avago chips, some design problems were revealed, including incompatibility with microfluidic integration, restricted detection region, strong sidewall scattering and uncoupled light interference from the single mode fiber. To address these problems, the 3rd generation LEAC sensor chip with buried detector arrays was designed to allow real-time monitoring and compatibility with microfluidic channel integration. 3rd generation samples have been fabricated in the CSU cleanroom and the mesa detector structure has been replaced with the thin insulator detector structure to solve the problems encountered during the characterizations. PDMS microfluidic channels and a multichannel measurement system consisting of a probe card, a multiplexing/amplification circuit and a LabVIEW program have been implemented into the LEAC system. In recent years, outbreaks of fast spreading viral diseases, such as bird flu and H1N1, have drawn a lot of concern of the point-of-care virus detection techniques. To test the virus detection ability of LEAC sensor, 40nm and 200nm polystyrene nanoparticles were immobilized onto the waveguide, and the increased scattered light was collected. Sensitivities of 1%/particle and 0.04%/particle were observed for 200nm and 40nm particles respectively.


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evanescent field


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