The need to monitor and detect biological elements, related to human and environment health in a fast and reliable way, is one of the challenges faced by humanity in the 21st century. Tests done nowadays in laboratories are slow (from several hours to days) and expensive. Modern diagnostics is demanding novel analytical tools that could enable quick, accurate, sensitive, reliable and cost-effective results so that appropriate treatments can be implemented in time, leading to improved outcomes. Portable point-of-care (POC) devices, able to deliver an instant diagnostics, could become a reality soon thanks to the last advances in nanobiosensors, lab-on-a-chip, wireless and smart-phone technologies, which promise to surpass the existing challenges, opening the door to a global diagnostics access.
The driving force of our research is to achieve such ultrasensitive platforms for POC label-free analysis using nanophotonic technologies and custom-designed biofunctionalization protocols, accomplishing the requirements of disposability and portability. We are using innovative designs of nanophotonic biosensors based on silicon photonics technology (bimodal waveguide nanointerferometers) or nanoplasmonics (gold nanostructures) and full microfluidics lab-on-chip integration. We employ dedicated biofunctionalization routes of the biological receptors (as proteins or genomic strands) ensuring selectivity, life-cycle, non-fouling properties and reusability.
Moreover, we have demonstrated the applicability of our biosensor technology for real life requests with extremely sensitivity and selectivity, mainly for clinical diagnostics (i.e early cancer diagnostics, microbiological infections), and for environmental control of marine pollutants directly in untreated sea water.