In the work by Hachuda et al. a method for the detection of low-concentration biomarkers using a photonic crystal semiconductor was developed. When exposed to the biomarker of interest a red shift in wavelength was seen during room temperature photopumping, enabling detection of low concentrations of protein based biomarkers. Using the photonic nanocrystal assay, PSA concentrations as low as 1 fM could be detected, which is below the detection limit of conventional PSA specific ELISA kits. Signal intensity and stability of the photonic crystal assay detection of PSA were improved with the addition of a surfactant such as ethanolamine. Photonic nanocrystal PSA assay sensitivity was found to be maintained even in the presence of a contaminating protein such as bovine serum albumin (BSA) when the BSA concentration was orders of magnitude higher than the PSA concentration. This is an exciting development that may improve the ability to detect PSA as well as other biomarkers in the blood to detect disease recurrence and may aid in future disease diagnosis.
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