Ion-sensitive photonic-crystal nanolaser sensors.

Optics express (2017-10-19)
Takumi Watanabe, Yoshito Saijo, Yu Hasegawa, Keisuke Watanabe, Yoshiaki Nishijima, Toshihiko Baba

In general, biochemical sensors based on photonic cavities are used to detect changes in the refractive index of the environment. In this study, however, a GaInAsP semiconductor photonic-crystal nanolaser sensor that we recently developed was found to detect not only the environmental refractive index but also the surface charge. In contrast to the pH sensitivity we reported previously, this is an ultra-sensitive detection mechanism capable of identifying proteins and deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) at a femtomolar-order or lower concentrations. When the device is exposed to plasma or DNA solutions, the laser wavelength simultaneously changes with the zeta potential and the flat-band potential of the semiconductor surface. This indicates that the charged functional groups on the surface, which are formed by these treatments, modify the Schottky barrier near the semiconductor surface, trap the excited carriers in the barrier, and change the refractive index of the semiconductor via the carrier effects. These findings also suggest that some other photonic sensors may also exhibit similar electrochemical and optoelectronic effects.

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Anti-Mouse IgG (whole molecule) antibody produced in goat, affinity isolated antibody, lyophilized powder