Original Article

Citation: Light: Science & Applications (2014) 3, e122; doi:10.1038/lsa.2014.3
Published online 3 January 2014

Handheld high-throughput plasmonic biosensor using computational on-chip imaging

Arif E Cetin1,*, Ahmet F Coskun2,3,*, Betty C Galarreta1,4, Min Huang1, David Herman2, Aydogan Ozcan2,6 and Hatice Altug1,5

  1. 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
  2. 2Departments of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
  3. 3Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
  4. 4Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Departamento de Ciencias-Quimica, Avenida Universitaria 1801, Lima 32, Peru
  5. 5Bioengineering Department, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne CH-1015, Switzerland
  6. 6California NanoSystems Institute, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA

Correspondence: Professor A Ozcan, Departments of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. E-mail: ozcan@ucla.edu; Or Professor H Altug, Bioengineering Department, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne CH-1015, Switzerland. E-mail: hatice.altug@epfl.ch

*These authors contribute equally to this work.

Received 8 April 2013; Revised 21 August 2013; Accepted 27 August 2013



We demonstrate a handheld on-chip biosensing technology that employs plasmonic microarrays coupled with a lens-free computational imaging system towards multiplexed and high-throughput screening of biomolecular interactions for point-of-care applications and resource-limited settings. This lightweight and field-portable biosensing device, weighing 60 g and 7.5 cm tall, utilizes a compact optoelectronic sensor array to record the diffraction patterns of plasmonic nanostructures under uniform illumination by a single-light emitting diode tuned to the plasmonic mode of the nanoapertures. Employing a sensitive plasmonic array design that is combined with lens-free computational imaging, we demonstrate label-free and quantitative detection of biomolecules with a protein layer thickness down to 3 nm. Integrating large-scale plasmonic microarrays, our on-chip imaging platform enables simultaneous detection of protein mono- and bilayers on the same platform over a wide range of biomolecule concentrations. In this handheld device, we also employ an iterative phase retrieval-based image reconstruction method, which offers the ability to digitally image a highly multiplexed array of sensors on the same plasmonic chip, making this approach especially suitable for high-throughput diagnostic applications in field settings.


computational imaging; high-throughput biodetection; lens-free imaging; on-chip sensing; plasmonics; point of care diagnostics; telemedicine