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Novel polymer platform for enhanced biochip performance

McEvoy, H. M. and Blue, R. and Kent, N. and Polerecky, Lubos and McDonagh, C. and MacCraith, B. D. (2005) Novel polymer platform for enhanced biochip performance. Proceedings of SPIE, 5826. pp. 512-519. ISSN 1996-756X

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We report the development of enhanced optical platforms for fluorescence-based biosensors. A previous analysis by us has shown that the emission of fluorescence in such a system is highly anisotropic and is preferentially emitted into the substrate over a well-defined angular range, with the result that the light is guided along the substrate via total internal reflection. However, conventional optical biosensors based on fluorescence detection typically employ a detector that is positioned either directly above or directly below the biochip. As a consequence, only a small fraction of the total emitted fluorescence is detected, which impacts adversely on sensor performance. The enhanced biosensor presented here is based on a novel, generic platform specifically designed to overcome the inherent limitations of planar substrates. The platform incorporates custom-designed optical elements, the purpose of which is to redirect the emitted fluorescence onto a detector positioned beneath the biochip. Platforms were fabricated using the polymer processing technique of microinjection moulding. In this paper we demonstrate the ability of this optical system to achieve a 80-fold luminescence capture enhancement. We also demonstrate its effectiveness as an enhanced biosensor platform by carrying out a proof of principle BSA/antiBSA competitive assay. This work has significant implications for the development of mass-producible, highly efficient optical biosensors.