Enhancement of binding kinetics on affinity substrates by laser point heating induced transport†
Enhancing the time response and detection limit of affinity-binding based biosensors is an area of active research. For diffusion limited reactions, introducing active mass transport is an effective strategy to reduce the equilibration time and improve surface binding. Here, a laser is focused on the ceiling of a microchamber to generate point heating, which introduces natural advection and thermophoresis to promote mass transport to the reactive floor. We first used the COMSOL simulation to study how the kinetics of ligand binding is influenced by the optothermal effect. Afterwards, binding of biotinylated nanoparticles to NeutrAvidin-treated substrates is quantitatively measured with and without laser heating. It is discovered that laser induced point heating reduces the reaction half-life locally, and the reduction improves with the natural advection velocity. In addition, non-uniform ligand binding on the substrate is induced by the laser with predictable binding patterns. This optothermal strategy holds promise to improve the time-response and sensitivity of biosensors and microarrays.