Affinity-based biosensing systems have become an important analytical tool for the detection and study of numerous biomolecules. The merging of these sensing technologies with microfluidic flow cells allows for faster detection times, increased sensitivities, and lower required sample volumes. In order to obtain a higher degree of performance from the sensor, it is important to know the effects of the flow cell geometry on the sensor sensitivity. In these sensors, the sensor sensitivity is related to the overall diffusive flux of analyte to the sensing surface; therefore increases in the analyte flux will be manifested as an increase in sensitivity, resulting in a lower limit of detection (LOD). Here we present a study pertaining to the effects of the flow cell height H on the analyte flux J, where for a common biosensor design we predict that the analyte flux will scale as . We verify this scaling behavior via both numerical simulations as well as an experimental surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor. We show the reduction of the flow cell height can have drastic effects on the sensor performance, where the LOD of our experimental system concerning the detection of ssDNA decreases by a factor of 4 when H is reduced from 47 μm to 7 μm. We utilize these results to discuss the applicability of this scaling behavior with respect to a generalized affinity-based biosensor.
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