Portable Plasmonic Biosensor for Virus Detection in Resource-Poor Settings

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Avcı M. B., Koçer Z. A., Topkaya S. N., Yazıcı Z. A., Çetin A. E.

Ulusal Optik, Elektro-Optik ve Fotonik Çalıştayı, Ankara, Turkey, 09 September 2022, pp.21

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Ankara
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.21
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Early detection and diagnosis of infectious diseases caused by viruses is crucial for public and global health. Due to their high sensitivity, current technologies such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), polymerase chain reactions (PCR) and cell cultures are employed to diagnose viral infections. However, these technologies require long and expensive experiment processes, bulky instrumentations and laboratory professionals. Hence, their application in point- of-care diagnostics for viral diseases is not feasible especially for underdeveloped countries where there is an absence of medical infrastructure and healthcare professionals. Therefore, the development of highly sensitive, user-friendly, field-deployable point-of-care devices with strong specificity for rapid and accurate diagnosis of viral diseases in resource-poor settings is crucial in order to prevent pandemics related to virus-borne diseases. In this study, a lightweight and field- portable biosensor that employs a plasmonic chip based on nanohole arrays integrated to a lens free-imaging framework for label-free detection of viruses in field-settings is introduced. In order to monitor diffraction field patterns of nanohole arrays under the uniform illumination of an LED (light-emitting diode) source which is spectrally tuned to the plasmonic mode supported by the nanohole arrays, a CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) camera with high quantum efficiency in the spectral window of interest is utilized. We could successfully demonstrate the label-free detection of H1N1 viruses, such as swine flu, with medically relevant concentrations to demonstrate the applicability of our biosensor for virus detection. Additionally, to prepare the surface of the plasmonic chip for analyte binding, such as virus-antibody binding, we developed an affordable, easy-to-use sample preparation kit. We also developed a user-friendly PythonTM – based graphical user interface (GUI) that gives end users direct access to the biosensor hardware, allows them to capture and process diffraction field images, and provides virus information. Our platform could yield a LOD as low as 103 TCID50/mL by employing highly sensitive nanohole arrays and a lens free-imaging framework. Our biosensor could be a very strong candidate for diagnostic applications in resource-poor settings since it provides accurate and rapid sensing information in a handheld platform that is only 70 g and 12 cm tall, without the need for bulky and expensive instrumentation. Since the basis of our detection method is usage of antibodies, it could be quickly adapted by simply coating the plasmonic chip surface with an antibody possessing affinity to the virus type of interest to detect different viral diseases such as COVID-19 or influenza. Therefore, our biosensor may be an important asset to prevent the spread of diseases before turning into a pandemic by isolating patients from the population.