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20 August 2009 Polymer photonic crystal dye lasers as label free evanescent cell sensors
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Dye doped polymer photonic crystal band edge lasers are applied for evanescent wave sensing of cells. The lasers are rectangular shaped slab waveguides of dye doped polymer on a glass substrate, where a photonic crystal is formed by 100 nm deep air-holes in the surface of the 375 nm high waveguides. The lasers are fabricated by combined nanoimprint and photolithography (CNP) in Ormocore hybrid polymer doped with the laser dye Pyrromethene 597. The lasers emit in the chip plane at a wavelength around 595 nm when pumped with 5 ns pulses from a compact frequency doubled Nd:YAG laser. We investigate the sensitivity of photonic crystal band-edge lasers to partial coverage with HeLa cells. The lasers are chemically activated with a flexible UV activated anthraquinone based linker molecule, which enables selective binding of cells and molecules. When measuring in Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS), which has a refractive index close to that of the cells, the emission wavelength depends linearly on the cell density on the sensor surface. Our results demonstrate that nanostructured hybrid polymer lasers, which are cheap to fabricate and very simple to operate, can be selectively chemically activated with UV sensitive photolinkers for further bioanalytical applications. This opens the possibility to functionalize arrays of optofluidic laser sensors with different bio-recognition molecules for multiplexed sensing. The linear relationship between cell coverage and wavelength indicates that the slight refractive index perturbation from the partial coverage of the sensor influences the entire optical mode, rather than breaking down the photonic crystal feedback.
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Mads Brøkner Christiansen, Joanna Malgorzata Lopacinska, Mogens Havsteen Jakobsen, Niels Asger Mortensen, Martin Dufva, and Anders Kristensen "Polymer photonic crystal dye lasers as label free evanescent cell sensors", Proc. SPIE 7402, Nanoengineering: Fabrication, Properties, Optics, and Devices VI, 74020L (20 August 2009);

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