Researchers have developed a unique ink jet printing method for fabricating tiny biocompatible polymer microdisk lasers for biosensing applications. The approach enables the production of both the laser and sensor in a room temperature, open-air environment, potentially enabling new uses of biosensing technologies for health monitoring and disease diagnostics.
The ability to use an inexpensive and portable commercial ink jet printer to fabricate a sensor in an ambient environment could make it possible to produce biosensors on-site as needed. This could help make biosensing widespread even in economically disadvantaged countries and regions, where it could be used for simple biochemical tests, including those for pathogen detection.
The researchers describe the ability to print microdisk lasers as small as the diameter of a human hair from a specially developed polymer called FC-V-50. They also show that the microdisks can successfully be used for biosensing with the widely used biotin-avidin system.