Optical nanosensors on CDs can detect without markers at low cost

A team of researchers from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), in collaboration with researchers from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) and the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV), all in Spain, are experimenting with optical nanosensors on compact disc (CD) surfaces as a way to detect biomolecules without using markers.

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The UPM researchers developed the nanosensors specifically for placement on CD surfaces; a standard CD player's optical reader can then examine the biological samples placed on the disc in a similar way that a CD's content is read. The nanosensors were designed, manufactured, and featured at the Institute of Optoelectronics Systems and Microtechnology (ISOM) of UPM, led by Carlos Angulo Barrios, one of the main researchers in the project. They consist of 250 nm nanohole arrays drilled in 100-nm-thick aluminum, and transmit light facilitating the detection of the molecules found on the surface. What's more, they use polycarbonate materials, which are the ones used to make CDs and DVDs, as they avoid the corrosion problem of standard aluminum and are still low-cost.

Full details of the work appear in the journal Plasmonics; for more information, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11468-014-9676-5.

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