The well-established optical standard method for non-labeled detection is the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) method. Its sensitivity suffers from the strong absorption of surface bound waves. Here, a similar concept, already at the proof of principle stage, will be advantageously implemented by applying the unique properties of Bloch Surface Waves (BSW) sustained on 1D Photonic Crystal (1DPC). Therein, a surface wave without absorption is excited, giving rise to an enormous narrowing of resonances and an associated increase in sensitivity. Furthermore, fluorescence enhancement due to near field effects will be exploited. By utilizing the dispersion of the BSW both detection schemes will be combined.
The major goal of the project is to explore, design, and set-up BSW systems optimized for analytical sensing, associated with the development of a corresponding analytical instrument. For this purpose, the immobilization protocols and biochemical assays have to be established to ensure an optimized binding site density at the surface and to enable the detection of the target biomarkers. Furthermore, a fluidic system will be developed, which will supply and handle the aqueous analyte solutions while ensuring a high signal-to-noise ratio and robust results even in the case of ultralow concentrations. The platform will be validated by pre-clinical tests on the detection of Angiopoietin -1 and -2 and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF).