An ultra-sensitive molecular sensor featured by centimeter-scale plasmonic metasurface with spatiall

Dr Li Wen-Di and his team had worked on a research for the topic “Ultrasensitive Molecular Detection by Imaging of Centimeter-Scale Metasurfaces with a Deterministic Gradient Geometry”. The research was published by Advanced Materials on June 4, 2021.

Details of the publication:

Ultrasensitive Molecular Detection by Imaging of Centimeter-Scale Metasurfaces with a Deterministic Gradient Geometry

Siyi Min, Shijie Li, Zhouyang Zhu, Yu Liu, Chuwei Liang, Jingxuan Cai, Fei Han, Yuyan Li, Wenshan Cai, Xing Cheng, Wen-Di Li

Article in Advanced Materials, Article number: 2100270


Highly sensitive detection of trace amounts of substances is crucial for broad applications in healthcare, environmental monitoring, antiterrorism, etc., where cost effectiveness and portability are often demanded. Here, an ultrasensitive sensor is reported that can detect an angstrom-thick layer of adsorbed molecules through image acquisition and processing. The sensor features a centimeter-scale plasmonic metasurface with spatially varying geometry, where the light scattering is dependent on both the adsorbed substances and spatial locations. When illuminated with narrowband light (such as from a light emitting diode), the intensity pattern recorded on the metasurface changes with the surface-adsorbed molecules, enabling label-free, sensitive, and spectrometer-free molecular detection. The centimeter-scale size of the sensing area interfaces well with consumer-level imaging sensors on mobile devices without the need for microscopic optics and offers a high signal-to-noise ratio by leveraging the multimillion pixels for noise reduction. It is experimentally demonstrated that a single layer of Al2O3 molecules deposited on the sensor, with a thickness of approximately one angstrom, can be detected by analyzing the images taken of the sensing chip. Furthermore, by integrating the sensor into a microfluidic setup, quantitative detection of BSA/anti-BSA immune complex formation events is demonstrated, which agrees well with the Langmuir isotherm model.