Recent advances in label-free biosensing techniques have shown the potential to simplify clinical analyses. With this motivation in mind, this paper demonstrates for the first time the use of silicon-on-insulator microring optical resonator arrays for the robust and label-free detection of a clinically important protein biomarker in undiluted serum, using carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) as the test case. We utilize an initial-slope-based quantitation method to sensitively detect CEA at clinically relevant levels and to determine the CEA concentrations of unknown samples in both buffer and undiluted fetal bovine serum. Comparison with a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit reveals that the label-free microring sensor platform has a comparable limit of detection (2 ng/mL) and superior accuracy in the measurement of CEA concentration across a 3 order of magnitude dynamic range. Notably, we report the lowest limit of detection to date for a microring resonator sensor applied to a clinically relevant cancer biomarker. Although this report describes the robust biosensing capabilities of silicon photonic microring resonator arrays for a single parameter assay, future work will focus on utilizing the platform for highly multiplexed, label-free bioanalysis.

Read more: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ac902006p