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Innovative, Flexible, and Miniaturized Microfluidic Paper-Based Plasmonic Chip for Efficient Near-Infrared Metal Enhanced Fluorescence Biosensing and Imaging

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posted on 2023-11-20, 20:33 authored by Andreea Campu, Ilinca Muresan, Ana-Maria Craciun, Adriana Vulpoi, Simona Cainap, Simion Astilean, Monica Focsan
The implementation of metal enhanced fluorescence (MEF) as an efficient detection tool, especially in the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, is a rather new direction for diagnostic analytical technologies. In this context, we propose a novel microfluidic plasmonic design based on paper for efficient MEF detection of the “proof-of-concept” biotin–streptavidin recognition interaction. Our design made use of the benefits of gold nanobipyramids (AuBPs), considering the strong enhanced electromagnetic field present at their sharp tips, and filter paper to operate as a natural microfluidic channel due to excellent wicking abilities. The calligraphed plasmonic paper, obtained using a commercial pen filled with AuBPs, was integrated in a robust sandwich optically transparent polydimethylsiloxane chip, exhibiting portability and flexibility while preserving the chip’s properties. To place the Alexa 680 fluorophore at an optimal distance from the nanobipyramid substrate, the human IgG-anti-IgG-conjugated biotin sandwich reaction was employed. Thus, upon the capture of Alexa 680-conjugated streptavidin by the biotinylated system, a 1.3-fold average enhancement of the fluorophore’s emission was determined by bulk fluorescence measurements. However, the local enhancement factor was considerably higher with values spanning from 5 to 6.3, as proven by mapping the fluorescence emission under both re-scan microscopy and fluorescence lifetime imaging, endorsing the proposed chip’s feasibility for bulk MEF biosensing as well as high-resolution MEF bioimaging. Finally, the versatility of our chip was demonstrated by adapting the biosensing protocol for cardiac troponin I biomarker detection, validated using 10 plasma samples collected from pediatric patients and corroborated with a conventional ELISA assay.

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