Nanophotonic-Carbohydrate Lab-on-a-Microneedle for Rapid Detection of Human Cystatin C in Finger-Prick Blood

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Miniaturized total analysis systems, for the rapid detection of disease biomarkers, with features including high biomarker sensitivity, selectivity, biocompatibility, and disposability, all at low cost are of profound importance in the healthcare sector. Within this frame of reference, we developed a lab-on-a-carbohydrate-microneedle biodevice by integrating localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) paper-based substrates with biocompatible microneedles of high aspect ratio (>60:1 length:width). These microneedles are completely fabricated with carbohydrate (maltose) and further coated with poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA), which together serves the purpose of fluid channels. The porous nature of PLGA, in addition to drawing blood by capillary action, filters out the whole blood, allowing only the blood plasma to reach the biorecognition layer of the developed biodevice. While the use of maltose provides biocompatibility to the microneedle, the axial compression and transverse load analysis revealed desired mechanical strength of the microneedle, with mechanical failure occurring at 11N and 9 N respectively for the compressive and transverse load. For a proof-of-principle demonstration, the developed biodevice is validated for its operational features by direct detection of cystatin C in finger-prick blood and up to a concentration of 0.01 μg/mL in buffered conditions using the LSPR technique. Furthermore, by changing the biorecognition layer, the use of the developed needle can be extended to other disease biomarkers, and therefore the innovation presented in this work represents a hallmark in the state of the art of lab-on-a-chip biodevices.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberacsnano.0c05074
Pages (from-to)11939–11949
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number9
Early online date5 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 22 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.M. and S.V.P. would like to gratefully acknowledge the funding under the Invest Northern Ireland and the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) under the Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC). J.M. and N.B. would like to acknowledge EPSRC support on this project from the grant EP/TO24437/1 to Ulster University. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Preetam Sharma at NIBEC, Ulster University, for his help in the SEM imaging.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • POCT
  • microneedle lab
  • LSPR
  • biosensors
  • blood extraction


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