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Sensors 2015, 15(8), 18040-18060; doi:10.3390/s150818040

PEG Functionalization of Whispering Gallery Mode Optical Microresonator Biosensors to Minimize Non-Specific Adsorption during Targeted, Label-Free Sensing

1
Department of Bioengineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65201, USA
2
Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65201, USA
3
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65201, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stephen Holler
Received: 27 May 2015 / Revised: 16 July 2015 / Accepted: 17 July 2015 / Published: 24 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Label-Free Sensing)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1008 KB, uploaded 24 July 2015]   |  

Abstract

Whispering Gallery Mode (WGM) optical microresonator biosensors are a powerful tool for targeted detection of analytes at extremely low concentrations. However, in complex environments, non-specific adsorption can significantly reduce their signal to noise ratio, limiting their accuracy. To overcome this, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) can be employed in conjunction with appropriate recognition elements to create a nonfouling surface capable of detecting targeted analytes. This paper investigates a general route for the addition of nonfouling elements to WGM optical biosensors to reduce non-specific adsorption, while also retaining high sensitivity. We use the avidin-biotin analyte-recognition element system, in conjunction with PEG nonfouling elements, as a proof-of-concept, and explore the extent of non-specific adsorption of lysozyme and fibrinogen at multiple concentrations, as well as the ability to detect avidin in a concentration-dependent fashion. Ellipsometry, contact angle measurement, fluorescence microscopy, and optical resonator characterization methods were used to study non-specific adsorption, the quality of the functionalized surface, and the biosensor’s performance. Using a recognition element ratio to nonfouling element ratio of 1:1, we showed that non-specific adsorption could be significantly reduced over the controls, and that high sensitivity could be maintained. Due to the frequent use of biotin-avidin-biotin sandwich complexes in functionalizing sensor surfaces with biotin-labeled recognition elements, this chemistry could provide a common basis for creating a non-fouling surface capable of targeted detection. This should improve the ability of WGM optical biosensors to operate in complex environments, extending their application towards real-world detection. View Full-Text
Keywords: optical microresonator; surface functionalization; non-specific adsorption; surface characterization; PEG; nonfouling surfaces optical microresonator; surface functionalization; non-specific adsorption; surface characterization; PEG; nonfouling surfaces
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, F.; Anderson, M.; Bernards, M.T.; Hunt, H.K. PEG Functionalization of Whispering Gallery Mode Optical Microresonator Biosensors to Minimize Non-Specific Adsorption during Targeted, Label-Free Sensing. Sensors 2015, 15, 18040-18060.

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