On-Chip Detection of SARS-CoV-2 DNA Targets Using Optofluidic Nano-Slot Waveguides

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Chip-scale SARS-CoV-2 testing was demonstrated using silicon nitride (Si3N4) nanoslot fluidic waveguides to detect a tagged oligonucleotide with a coronavirus DNA sequence. The slot waveguides were fabricated using complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) fabrication processes, including multiscale lithography and selective reactive ion etching (RIE), forming femtoliter fluidic channels. Finite difference method (FDM) simulation was used to calculate the optical field distribution of the waveguide mode when the waveguide sensor was excited by transverse electric (TE) and transverse magnetic (TM) polarized light. For the TE polarization, a strong optical field was created in the slot region and its field intensity was 14× stronger than the evanescent sensing field from the TM polarization. The nanoscale confinement of the optical sensing field significantly enhanced the light–analyte interaction and improved the optical sensitivity. The sensitivity enhancement was experimentally demonstrated by measuring the polarization-dependent fluorescence emission from the tagged oligonucleotide. The photonic chips consisting of femtoliter Si3N4 waveguides provide a low-cost and high throughput platform for real-time virus identification, which is critical for point-of-care (PoC) diagnostic applications.


Genetics, Fluorescence, Chemical structure, Light, Waveguides


M. Makela, P. T. Lin, “On-Chip Detection of SARS-CoV-2 DNA Targets Using Optofluidic Nano-Slot Waveguides,” Analytical Chemistry, March 1, 2021.