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Lab Chip. 2007 Aug;7(8):955-77. Epub 2007 Jul 10.

Optical filtering technologies for integrated fluorescence sensors.

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  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering and Institute for Systems Research, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Numerous approaches have been taken to miniaturizing fluorescence sensing, which is a key capability for micro-total-analysis systems. This critical, comprehensive review focuses on the optical hardware required to attenuate excitation light while transmitting fluorescence. It summarizes, evaluates, and compares the various technologies, including filtering approaches such as interference filters and absorption filters and filterless approaches such as multicolor sensors and light-guiding elements. It presents the physical principles behind the different architectures, the state-of-the-art micro-fluorometers and how they were microfabricated, and their performance metrics. Promising technologies that have not yet been integrated are also described. This information will permit the identification of methods that meet particular design requirements, from both performance and integration perspectives, and the recognition of the remaining technological challenges. Finally, a set of performance metrics are proposed for evaluating and reporting spectral discrimination characteristics of integrated devices in order to promote side-by-side comparisons among diverse technologies and, ultimately, to facilitate optimized designs of micro-fluorometers for specific applications.

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