Inside the research: Boosting brightness for diagnostic tests

Fluorescence-based biosensing and bioimaging technologies are widely used in research and clinical settings to detect and image various biological species of interest. While fluorescence-based detection and imaging techniques are convenient to use, they suffer from poor sensitivity. For example, when a patient carries low levels of antigens in the blood or urine, the fluorescent signal can be feeble, making visualization and diagnosis difficult. For this reason, fluorescence-based detection is not always preferred when sensitivity is a key requirement. A multidisciplinary team at Washington University in St. Louis and the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has developed a high-tech fix that utilizes metal nanostructures to increase the fluorescence intensity by 100 times in these diagnostic tests. It's a cheap and easy solution to what's previously been a vexing diagnostic problem.

Provided by Washington University in St. Louis

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