Researchers have invented a new nano-optical biosensor that can be used to detect cancer

Most biosensors today require a spectrometer to extract the most accurate data from each light color, which limits their use. EPFL scientists have proposed a new concept that allows a single light color to operate as a simple imaging detector. Although only a single color of light is used, the system provides extremely accurate biosensing information, just as the entire rainbow of light illuminates the sensor.

The new biosensor uses two specific functions, including nanophotonics and data science technology. The chip itself is constructed from nanostructures made of silicon. The surface of nano-structured silicon has features around 100 nanometers, which can more effectively capture light on the biological sample/chip interface. This makes the biosensor extremely sensitive to the presence of biomarkers, resulting in significant changes in the characteristics of the incident light.

This feature is a change in the "amount" of collected light called light intensity. Normally, the camera continuously receives the light passing through the biochip, and obtains the intensity information of millions of image pixels from the biochip. The biomarkers and intensity change images attached to the nanostructures on the biochip are compiled with very high resolution from the induced intensity changes of each pixel.

Researchers use data science techniques combined with pre-recorded performance maps to process light intensity information from a large number of pixels. The system considers the efficiency of each pixel and adjusts its contribution to the final reading in a collective manner. Researchers liken this process to a reliable conclusion by carefully weighing their knowledge in the field after receiving the opinions of a group of experts.

The scientists of the project created a demonstration that uses a new biosensor for cancer diagnosis and detects tumor exons, which are biomarkers of early cancer. The team determined that image-based biosensors can monitor breast cancer exons over a wide range of detection in real time, making them clinically meaningful to both healthy and sick people.

Manuscript source: cnBeta.COM