Label-Free Biosensing with High Selectivity in Complex Media using Microtoroidal Optical Resonators
Nature Publishing Group
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Although label-free biosensors comprised of optical microcavities inherently possess the capability of resolving molecular interactions at individual level, this extreme sensitivity restricts their convenience for large scale applications by inducing vulnerability towards non-specific interactions that readily occur within complex media. Therefore, the use of optical microresonators for biosensing is mostly limited within strictly defined laboratory conditions, instead of field applications as early detection of cancer markers in blood, or identification of contamination in food. Here, we propose a novel surface modification strategy suitable for but not limited to optical microresonator based biosensors, enabling highly selective biosensing with considerable sensitivity as well. Using a robust, silane-based surface coating which is simultaneously protein resistant and bioconjugable, we demonstrate that it becomes possible to perform biosensing within complex media, without compromising the sensitivity or reliability of the measurement. Functionalized microtoroids are successfully shown to resist nonspecific interactions, while simultaneously being used as sensitive biological sensors. This strategy could pave the way for important applications in terms of extending the use of state-of-the-art biosensors for solving problems similar to the aforementioned.