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Optical Biosensors for Label-Free Detection of Small Molecules

Departamento de Química Analítica, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, E-28040 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2018, 18(12), 4126;
Received: 17 October 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 24 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Label-free Optical Nanobiosensors)
PDF [6264 KB, uploaded 24 November 2018]


Label-free optical biosensors are an intriguing option for the analyses of many analytes, as they offer several advantages such as high sensitivity, direct and real-time measurement in addition to multiplexing capabilities. However, development of label-free optical biosensors for small molecules can be challenging as most of them are not naturally chromogenic or fluorescent, and in some cases, the sensor response is related to the size of the analyte. To overcome some of the limitations associated with the analysis of biologically, pharmacologically, or environmentally relevant compounds of low molecular weight, recent advances in the field have improved the detection of these analytes using outstanding methodology, instrumentation, recognition elements, or immobilization strategies. In this review, we aim to introduce some of the latest developments in the field of label-free optical biosensors with the focus on applications with novel innovations to overcome the challenges related to small molecule detection. Optical label-free methods with different transduction schemes, including evanescent wave and optical fiber sensors, surface plasmon resonance, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, and interferometry, using various biorecognition elements, such as antibodies, aptamers, enzymes, and bioinspired molecularly imprinted polymers, are reviewed. View Full-Text
Keywords: label-free; optical biosensor; small molecule; surface plasmon resonance; surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy; interferometry; evanescent wave; optical fiber label-free; optical biosensor; small molecule; surface plasmon resonance; surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy; interferometry; evanescent wave; optical fiber

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Peltomaa, R.; Glahn-Martínez, B.; Benito-Peña, E.; Moreno-Bondi, M.C. Optical Biosensors for Label-Free Detection of Small Molecules. Sensors 2018, 18, 4126.

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