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Ultrasensitive hyperspectral imaging and biodetection enabled by dielectric metasurfaces


Metasurfaces based on resonant subwavelength photonic structures enable novel ways of wavefront control and light focusing, underpinning a new generation of flat-optics devices1. Recently emerged all-dielectric asymmetric metasurfaces, composed of arrays of metaunits with broken in-plane inversion symmetry2,3,4,5,6,7, exhibit high-quality resonances originating from the intriguing physics of bound states in the continuum. Here, we combine dielectric metasurfaces and hyperspectral imaging to develop an ultrasensitive label-free analytical platform for biosensing. Our technique can acquire spatially resolved spectra from millions of image pixels and use smart data-processing tools to extract high-throughput digital sensing information at the unprecedented level of less than three molecules per μm2. We further show spectral data retrieval from a single image without using spectrometers, enabled by our unique sensor design, paving the way for portable diagnostic applications. This combination of nanophotonics and imaging optics extends the capabilities of dielectric metasurfaces to analyse biological entities and atomic-layer-thick two-dimensional materials over large areas.

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Fig. 1: Principle of hyperspectral imaging-based biomolecule detection using all-dielectric metasurfaces.
Fig. 2: Geometrically tunable high-Q dielectric metasurfaces based on quasi-BIC modes.
Fig. 3: Biosensing using dielectric metasurface sensors and image-based data processing.
Fig. 4: Barcode-based sensing with multi-resonance dielectric metasurfaces.
Fig. 5: Optical characterization of SLG using dielectric metasurface.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Code availability

The custom codes used in this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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The authors thank D.N. Neshev, A. Avsar and A. Belushkin for fruitful discussions, Y. Pandey and S. Confederat for assistance in preparing the sensor chips, A. Magrez for assistance with Raman spectroscopy, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and Center of MicroNano Technology for nanofabrication. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under grant agreement no. 682167 VIBRANT-BIO and the European Union Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under grant agreements no. 665667 (call 2015), no. 777714 (NOCTURNO project), no. FETOPEN-737071 (ULTRACHIRAL project) and no. 644956 (RAIS project). Y.K. acknowledges support from the Strategic Fund of the Australian National University.

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Authors and Affiliations



F.Y., E.R.A., Y.K. and H.A. conceived and designed the research. F.Y. and Y.J. fabricated the dielectric metasurfaces. F.Y. and E.R.A. carried out optical measurements. F.Y., E.R.A., V.C. and H.A. analysed data. F.Y., Y.J., A.T. and M.L. carried out numerical simulations. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hatice Altug.

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Supplementary Information

Fabrication process and additional discussion, Supplementary Figures 1–12, Supplementary Table 1 and Supplementary References 1–6.

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Yesilkoy, F., Arvelo, E.R., Jahani, Y. et al. Ultrasensitive hyperspectral imaging and biodetection enabled by dielectric metasurfaces. Nat. Photonics 13, 390–396 (2019).

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