By combining biosensor microscopy that provides high contrast for detecting individual biomolecules with novel biochemistry methods that can effectively turn each target molecule into many digitally-counted sensing events, it is possible to achieve attomolar-scale limits of detection for cancer-specific nucleic acid target molecules (miRNA and ctDNA) while simultaneously obtaining thousands-To-one selectivity against single base variants. The presentation will describe the use of photonic metamaterials and associated detection instruments to amplify optical absorption and fluorescence emission. The biodetection technology platforms are used to perform assays using nucleic acid strand displacement reactions and CRISPR/Cas chemistry to sense target biomarkers from complex media. The "amplify-Then-digitize"approach represents a new and powerful paradigm for molecular diagnostics, compared to the "digitize-Then amplify"approach utilized in methods such as droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). Overall, we seek simple, rapid, room temperature, single-step assay methods that can be operate with small, inexpensive, and robust detection systems for applications in point of care diagnostics, laboratory-based diagnostics, and life science research applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Biopsy XXI
Subtitle of host publicationToward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis
EditorsRobert R. Alfano, Angela B. Seddon
ISBN (Electronic)9781510658516
StatePublished - 2023
EventOptical Biopsy XXI: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis 2023 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jan 31 2023Feb 1 2023

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceOptical Biopsy XXI: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Biosensor
  • diagnostics
  • liquid biopsy
  • nanophotonics
  • personalized medicine
  • photonic crystal
  • ultrasensitive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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