Researchers advance optical sensing technology

Researchers advance optical sensing technology
Researchers advance optical sensing technology
Monday, October 18, 2004

Holger Schmidt and graduate student Dongliang Yin have demonstrated a technology that enables light propagation through small volumes of liquids on a chip'integrated optical waveguides with liquid cores. This new technology has a wide range of potential applications, including chemical and biological sensors with single-molecule sensitivity.

" We can make many waveguides in parallel on a chip, so you can imagine probing 20 to 30 channels at one time, with each channel containing a different sample," Schmidt said. "And because it is all silicon technology, we can integrate it with electrical contacts and even put a silicon photodetector right on the chip."

The waveguides could also be coupled with microfluidics systems'so-called "labs on a chip"'to control the flow of samples into and out of the waveguide cores.

Schmidt is also working with David Deamer to combine liquid-core waveguides with a nanopore device that can feed linear molecules such as single-stranded DNA through a 2.5-nanometer channel one at a time and then capture the photons released by each molecule.