Integration of an Optical Ring Resonator Biosensor into a Self-Contained Microfluidic Cartridge with Active, Single-Shot Micropumps

Geidel, S., Llopis, S. P., Rodigo, M., De Diego Castilla, G., Sousa, A., Nestler, J., Otto, T., Gessner, T., Parro, V. 2016. Integration of an Optical Ring Resonator Biosensor into a Self-Contained Microfluidic Cartridge with Active, Single-Shot Micropumps. Micromachines 7, 9 DOI: 10.3390/mi7090153

While there have been huge advances in the field of biosensors during the last decade, their integration into a microfluidic environment avoiding external tubing and pumping is still neglected. Herein, we show a new microfluidic design that integrates multiple reservoirs for reagent storage and single-use electrochemical pumps for time-controlled delivery of the liquids. The cartridge has been tested and validated with a silicon nitride-based photonic biosensor incorporating multiple optical ring resonators as sensing elements and an immunoassay as a potential target application. Based on experimental results obtained with a demonstration model, subcomponents were designed and existing protocols were adapted. The newly-designed microfluidic cartridges and photonic sensors were separately characterized on a technical basis and performed well. Afterwards, the sensor was functionalized for a protein detection. The microfluidic cartridge was loaded with the necessary assay reagents. The integrated pumps were programmed to drive the single process steps of an immunoassay. The prototype worked selectively, but only with a low sensitivity. Further work must be carried out to optimize biofunctionalization of the optical ring resonators and to have a more suitable flow velocity progression to enhance the system’s reproducibility.

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