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advanced PLAsmonic Biosensors ANalysis of nucleic acid biomarkers

Sensing of genetic material has become an ubiquitous tool in contexts that are as diverse as precision and personalized medicine, agricultural, forensic and environmental science. For instance, the detection of DNA targets may enable to distinguish viral and bacterial infections and identify antibiotic resistance, which would make an outstanding impact in most clinical contexts. The original idea of PLABAN is to delve into synergistic combinations of DNA amplification by a plasmonic polymerase chain reaction (PCR), plasmonic labeling, plasmonic manipulation of light and complementary approaches of photonic sensing, i.e. surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and plasmon-enhanced fluorescence (PEF) methods, in order to achieve ultrafast and ultrasensitive detection of DNA targets from human pathogens.

A photothermal cycler for ultrafast PCR will be implemented by adding plasmonic particles to the mixture of reagents for conventional PCR and by tuning their optical excitation. Then, the same particles will be modified to make a DNA amplicon stem from their surface for immediate detection. Meanwhile, innovative concepts of biosensors will be established around SPR for lab-on-a-chip applications and PEF in association with a multifunctional plasmonic substrate compatible with operation in microtiter plates, isothermal rolling cycle amplification and readout under a standard fluorescence scanner. The integration of all these concepts will be tested for all-plasmonic PCR, labeling and sensing.

Partners of PLABAN are Tuscan and Austrian companies and research organizations sharing a medium-long term vision to consolidate the European position in photonic sensing:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 688735: ERA-NET Cofund Transnational Call “PhotonicSensing” – H2020.