Photonic crystal surfaces offer a compelling platform for improving the sensitivity of surface-based fluorescent assays used in disease diagnostics. Through the complementary processes of photonic crystal enhanced excitation and enhanced extraction, a periodic dielectric-based nanostructured surface can simultaneously increase the electric field intensity experienced by surface-bound fluorophores and increase the collection efficiency of emitted fluorescent photons. Through the ability to inexpensively fabricate photonic crystal surfaces over substantial surface areas, they are amenable to single-use applications in biological sensing, such as disease biomarker detection in serum. In this review, we will describe the motivation for implementing high-sensitivity, multiplexed biomarker detection in the context of breast cancer diagnosis. We will summarize recent efforts to improve the detection limits of such assays though the use of photonic crystal surfaces. Reduction of detection limits is driven by low autofluorescent substrates for photonic crystal fabrication, and detection instruments that take advantage of their unique features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-628
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Biomarkers
  • Fluorescence enhancement
  • Nanostructured surface
  • Photonic crystal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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