By increasing their brightness by more than 150 times, silver nanocubes can make it simpler to read diagnostic tests that depend on fluorescence. The method could enable such tests to become much more affordable and commonplace when combined with an emerging point-of-care diagnostic platform that has already demonstrated its ability to identify minute amounts of viruses and other biomarkers.
In the scientific area of plasmonics, energy is trapped on the surface of silver nanocubes in a feedback loop known as a plasmon. The interaction of their electromagnetic fields causes fluorescent molecules sandwiched between one of these nanocubes and a metal surface to emit light much more aggressively. Scientists have used plasmonics for almost a decade to develop new hyperspectral cameras and ultrafast optical communications.
They have been developing a self-contained diagnostic tool for the point-of-care setting to detect minute concentrations of particular biomarkers in biomedical fluids like blood. However, because the tests depend on fluorescent markers to show the presence of the biomarkers, it takes costly and bulky equipment to see the meager light of a barely positive test.
The D4 Assay, a super-sensitive diagnostic platform developed by the researchers, was constructed on a thin film of gold, which was chosen as the yin to the plasmonic silver nanocube’s yang.
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