Bio-inspired photonic crystals for naked eye quantification of nucleic acids†
Herein, a chip imitating the desert beetle shell was presented for naked eye nucleic acid quantification. The hydrophobic photonic crystal substrate treated by ultraviolet local irradiation could effectively disperse the sample into hundreds of droplets for digital loop-mediated isothermal amplification (dLAMP). Pyrophosphate (PPI), a by-product of the LAMP reaction, combined with magnesium ions to form a poorly soluble precipitate. It could be fixed on a silica substrate due to complexation, resulting in the disappearance of the structural color of the photonic crystals. The number of points without structural color contains the information of the copy number of nucleic acids in the sample. This chip could achieve the naked eye quantitative detection of Salmonella DNA without fluorescence or other chromogenic reagents. Thus, the chip designed in this study can help the development of digital nucleic acid detection under limited resource settings (LRS) and can be suitable for POCT (point of care test) standards.