Fall | Graduate | 12 Units | Prereq: None
Bio(chemical) sensors play an outsized role in medical care, biological research, drug development, national security, and environmental monitoring, as exemplified by the current need for SARS-CoV-2 virus detection. Photonic biosensors use optical and plasmonic resonances to amplify biological signals associated with biological or chemical markers, and offer high-sensitivity detection, real-time readout, and scalable low-cost fabrication. The course will outline underlying physical and engineering principles that are used in photonic sensors to detect DNA molecules, proteins, and atmospheric/marine pollutants. These include fundamentals of light trapping and guiding, surface-polariton-mediated electromagnetic field enhancement, sensor surface functionalization, linear and non-linear light-matter interactions, refractometric sensing, fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy. The students will study and analyze commercial photonic biosensor systems, and will design novel sensor configurations in the context of SARS-CoV-2 virus detection and microplastic pollution monitoring. The students will also learn and practice the general principles of data sampling, statistical analysis and presentation of data acquired by biosensors.
Course goals and expected outcomes:
The students will learn basic principles of biosensor engineering and will practice integration of knowledge from several disciplines, including optics, photonics, and plasmonics, as well as mechanical, biological, and chemical engineering. They will understand the concepts of photonic transduction and electromagnetic signal amplification, and will learn and practice methods of extracting information from bio(chemical) sensors with optical readout. They will be able to perform statistical analysis of the data generated by biosensors, and to
design sensor configurations with embedded self-referenced mechanisms to reduce signal-to-noise ratio and to increase sensitivity and selectivity of detection. Through literature review and writing assignments, they will get familiar with a broad industrial and socioeconomic context of photonic biosensor applications and markets, and will collaborate on writing a critical assessment of the state of the art in the SARS-CoV-2 virus detection and microplastic pollution monitoring. For the final class project, each student will develop a photonic sensor design, and will present it in the format of an NSF research proposal. The students will have an opportunity to send the final project sensor designs to a Si photonic foundry to be fabricated and tested.
The course will include guest lectures and discussions with mentors from industry and academia currently working on the development of photonic sensors for COVID detection. Free access to the Lumerical software package will be provided to the enrolled students for the duration of the course courtesy of Lumerical.
Students can get support from the MechE Communication Lab for the final project preparation.
• Introduction to the field of biosensors and their applications
• Light trapping and guiding mechanisms
• Mechanisms of the optical readout and light-matter interactions
• Bio(chemical) sensor figures of merit
• Sources of noise and sensor self-referencing
• Biomolecular structure and function, sensor surface functionalization with bio-selective layers
• Surface-polariton-mediated electromagnetic field enhancement
• Statistical information processing to analyze photonic biosensor output
• Fluorescence and Raman Spectroscopy, optical instrumentation
• Nanoparticle and micro-particle labels
• Mobile and point-of-care biosensors
• Guest lectures on biosensor applications in research and industry
Fall 2020 Update: Fully Remote Classes