Biosensing in a microelectrofluidic system using optical whispering-gallery mode spectroscopy

Lei Huang, Zhixiong Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Label-free detection of biomolecules using an optical whispering-gallery mode sensor in a microelectrofluidic channel is simulated. Negatively charged bovine serum albumin is considered as the model protein analyte. The analyte transport in aqueous solution is controlled by an externally applied electrical field. The finite element method is employed for solving the equations of the charged species transport, the Poisson equation of electric potential, the equations of conservation of momentum and energy, and the Helmholtz equations of electromagnetic waves. The adsorption process of the protein molecules on the microsensor head surface is monitored by the resonance frequency shifts. Frequency shift caused by temperature variation due to Joule heating is analyzed and found to be negligible. The induced shifts behave in a manner similar to Langmuir-like adsorption kinetics; but the time constant increases due to the presence of the external electrical field. A correlation of the frequency shift, the analyte feed concentration in the solution, and the applied voltage gradient is obtained, in which an excellent linear relationship between the frequency shift and the analyte concentration is revealed. The applied voltage gradient enhances significantly the analyte concentration in the vicinity of the sensor surface; thus, the sensor sensitivity which has a power function of the voltage gradient with exponent 2.85 in the controlled voltage range. Simulated detection of extremely low protein concentration to the pico-molar level is carried out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034114
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 20 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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