Nano Sensors Group | Illinois



This project involves incorporating the label-free photonic crystal biosensors within microfluidic networks.  By having sensors within the microfluidic channels, bulk reagents or interaction between different biomolecules can be detected in real-time with significantly less reagent volume consumption.  Within the micro-channels, the distance that biomolecules have to travel to reach to the sensor surface is cut down.  As a result, the detection time required for bioassays can be significantly reduced and kinetic binding rates between biomolecules can be determined with greater accuracy.  In addition, the fluid inlet/outlet locations of the sensor integrated microfluidic chips are compatible with the standard liquid handling system widely used in life science laboratories.

fig 1

Scanning electron microscope image of an open microfluidic channel network embedded with the photonic crystal biosensor at the bottom surface.
fig 2 

Photonic crystal biosensor integrated microfluidic channels attached to a standard 96-well microplate with the schematic of the device and sensor image measured with high resolution detection system.  Featured on the cover of May, 2007 issue of the Lab on a Chip journal.

Ben R. Schudel, Prof. Paul J.A. Kenis (Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

SRU Biosystems
Nano-CEMMS Center at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


  1. C.J. Choi and B.T. Cunningham.  “Single-step fabrication and characterization of photonic crystal biosensors with polymer microfluidic channels”, Lab on a Chip, 2006, 6, 1373-1380.
  2. C.J. Choi and B.T. Cunningham.  “A 96-well microplate incorporating a replica molded microfluidic network integrated with photonic crystal biosensors for high throughput kinetic biomolecular interaction analysis”, Lab on a Chip, 2007, 7, 550-556, Featured on cover.
  3. "Microfluidic chip for combinatorial mixing and screening of assays," B.R. Schudel, C.J. Choi, B.T. Cunningham, and P.J.A. Kenis, Lab on a Chip, Vol. 12, p. 1676-1680, 2009.
  4. "Photonic crystal integrated microfluidic chip for determination of kinetic reaction rate constants," C. J. Choi, I.D. Block, B. Bole, D. Dralle, B.T. Cunningham, IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 9, No. 12, p. 1697-1704, 2009.
  5. "Comparison of label-free biosensing in microplate, microfluidic, and spot-based affinity capture assays," C.J. Choi, A.R. Belobraydich, L.L. Chan, P.C. Mathias, and B.T. Cunningham, Analytical Biochemistry, Vol. 405, No. 1, p. 1-10, 2010.

Conference presentations:

  1. M.W. Toepke, I.D. Block, C.J. Choi, V. Nesterenko, B.R. Schudel, B.T. Cunningham, P.J. Hergenrother, P.J.A. Kenis. “Microfluidics for combinatorial studies”, AIChE National Meeting, Fall 2005.
  2. C.J. Choi, L.L. Chan, M.F. Pineda, B.T. Cunningham. “Photonic crystal biosensor microplates with integrated fluid networks for high throughput applications in drug discovery”, Invited presentation, SPIE Optics and Photonics 2007
  3. B. Schudel, C. Choi, M. Toepke, B.T. Cunningham, P.J.A. Kenis, Integration of Microfluidic Combinatorial Chemistry Chips with Photonic Crystal Biosensors, AIChE Annual Meeting, Nov. 2007.
  4. C.J. Choi, L.L. Chan, J.T. Heeres, P.J. Hergenrother, B.T. Cunningham, Photonic crystal optofluidics for high throughput biosensing, Invited presentation, CLEO/QELS 2008