Label-free virus detection using silicon photonic microring resonators

Biosens Bioelectron. 2012 Jan 15;31(1):388-92. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2011.10.056. Epub 2011 Nov 11.


Viruses represent a continual threat to humans through a number of mechanisms, which include disease, bioterrorism, and destruction of both plant and animal food resources. Many contemporary techniques used for the detection of viruses and viral infections suffer from limitations such as the need for extensive sample preparation or the lengthy window between infection and measurable immune response, for serological methods. In order to develop a method that is fast, cost-effective, and features reduced sample preparation compared to many other virus detection methods, we report the application of silicon photonic microring resonators for the direct, label-free detection of intact viruses in both purified samples as well as in a complex, real-world analytical matrix. As a model system, we demonstrate the quantitative detection of Bean pod mottle virus, a pathogen of great agricultural importance, with a limit of detection of 10 ng/mL. By simply grinding a small amount of leaf sample in buffer with a mortar and pestle, infected leaves can be identified over a healthy control with a total analysis time of less than 45 min. Given the inherent scalability and multiplexing capability of the semiconductor-based technology, we feel that silicon photonic microring resonators are well-positioned as a promising analytical tool for a number of viral detection applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Comovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Optical Devices*
  • Plant Leaves / virology*
  • Refractometry / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Silicon / chemistry
  • Soybeans / virology*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Viral Load / instrumentation*


  • Silicon