Intensity-modulated nanoplasmonic interferometric sensor for MMP-9 detection
To elucidate the secretary function of immune cells, we develop a nanoplasmonic circular interferometric biosensor based on intensity interrogation for label-free and dynamic sensing of molecular secretion. Exceptional sensitivity has been demonstrated through coupling free light and surface plasmon polariton (SPPs) waves, which generates a constructive and deconstructive interference pattern with high contrast and narrow linewidth when illuminated by white light. Alternatively, by adopting a narrow-band LED source and a CCD camera in this work, the transmission intensity of multiple sensing units is monitored simultaneously with a simple collinear optical setup. This intensity-modulated sensing platform yields a resolution of 4.1 × 10−5 refractive index unit (RIU) with a high temporal resolution of 1 s and a miniaturized footprint as small as 9.8 × 9.8 μm2 for a single sensing unit. By integrating the signals from multiple sensor units, the resolution of a 12 × 12 sensor array was found to reach 7.3 × 10−6 RIU. We apply this sensor array to detect matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) secretion from human monocytic cells, THP-1, at different time points after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) simulation and the results are in good agreement with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests, but without the need for labeling. The spatial, temporal and mass resolutions of the sensor array are found to exceed other label-free technologies. These biomolecular arrays, incorporated in a microfluidic sensor platform, hold great potential for the study the dynamics and interplay of cell secretion signals and achieving a better understanding of single cell functions.