Binding assay for low molecular weight analytes based on reflectometry of absorbing molecules in porous substrates†
Small molecule sensing is of great importance in pharmaceutical research. While there exist well established screening methods such as EMSA (electrophoretic motility shift assay) or biointeraction chromatography to report on successful binding interactions, there are only a few techniques that allow studying and quantifying the interaction of low molecular weight analytes with a binding partner directly. We report on a binding assay for small molecules based on the reflectivity change of a porous transparent film upon immobilisation of an absorbing substance on the pore walls. The porous matrix acts as a thin optical transparent film to produce interference fringes and accumulates molecules at the inner wall to amplify the sensor response. The benefits and limits of the assay are demonstrated by investigating the binding of biotin labelled with an atto dye to avidin physisorbed within an anodic aluminium oxide membrane.