Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Plasmo-Optoelectronic Immunosensor

Technology #7407

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Katsuo Kurabayashi
Managed By
Bryce Pilz
Director Licensing 734-615-8433
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Precision medicine is emerging clinical care designed to target particular groups of patients for optimal therapeutic benefit. Molecular profiling of disease biomarkers is one of the key methods in enabling precision medicine. Conventional molecular profiling techniques, such as enzyme-linked immusorbent assay (ELISA) and bead-based immunoassay processes, require long (normally 3-8 hours) and complicated assay processes, precluding clinicians from analyzing biomarker profiles and host responses to drugs in real time at the place of patient care during the course of disease development. The technology presented here is a nanotechnology-based biological sensor device platform that can be a battery-operated, portable, mechanically flexible, and self-contained microsystem, enabling simultaneous profiling of the concentration levels of multiple biomarker molecules (e.g., proteins, enzymes, DNA, and RNA) in blood, saliva, urine, and so forth at high speed, accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. For example, eliminating the long measurement lead-time and labor intensiveness that conventional clinical tests suffer from, the technology has the potential to provide the means to precisely monitor the immune status of an individual person, which meets the urgent need for point-of-care precision medicine that treats systemic immune disorders and traumatic injuries accompanying acute inflammatory responses.


This technology is a design of a biosensor, which can serve as a generic device platform to meet the need of rapid biomarker detection with high sensitivity. This biosensor design makes use of a nanoplasmonic filter, enabled by nanoparticles arranged on a substrate, and a photoconductive thin film; it is classified as a nanoparticle-based localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) technique.

This biosensor design has been demonstrated to provide label-free detection of IL-1beta, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, with detection limit as low as 250 fg/mL (14 fM) and a short assay time of 10 minutes.

This biosensor offers a simultaneous combination of high sensitivity and rapid response time for cytokine detection not currently available, even in other state-of-the-art techniques.

The design also avoids contact of the photoactive structures with aqueous reagents, a common detection stability and sensitivity degradation mechanism observed in purely electrical and electronic biosensors caused by ionic screening of the electric field and unwanted short-circuit effects.


The presented biosensing approach could be further developed and generalized for:

  • Biomedical research
  • Point-of-care diagnosis
  • Wearable bio/chemical sensing
  • Environmental monitoring

The following areas of medicine currently use immunoassays:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Endocrinology
  • Bone and mineral disorders
  • Oncology
  • Cardiology
  • Hematology and blood screening
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Toxicology
  • Neonatal screening


  • High sensitivity
  • Rapid response
  • Prevents stability degradation mechanisms common in many immunoassay biosensors


Biotunable Nanoplasmonic Filter on Few-Layer MoS2 for Rapid and Highly Sensitive Cytokine Optoelectronic Immunosensing. ACS Nano. 2017 May 16