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Lab Chip. 2008 Jan;8(1):143-51. Epub 2007 Oct 31.

Integrated wavelength-selective optical waveguides for microfluidic-based laser-induced fluorescence detection.

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


We demonstrate the fabrication and characterization of a novel, inexpensive microchip capable of laser induced fluorescence (LIF) detection using integrated waveguides with built-in optical filters. Integrated wavelength-selective optical waveguides are fabricated by doping poly(dimethysiloxane) (PDMS) with dye molecules. Liquid-core waveguides are created within dye-doped PDMS microfluidic chips by filling channels with high refractive index liquids. Dye molecules are allowed to diffuse into the liquid core from the surrounding dye-doped PDMS. The amount of diffusion is controlled by choosing either polar (low diffusion) or apolar (high diffusion) liquid waveguide cores. The doping dye is chosen to absorb excitation light and to transmit fluorescence emitted by the sample under test. After 24 h, apolar waveguides demonstrate propagation losses of 120 dB cm(-1) (532 nm) and 4.4 dB cm(-1) (633 nm) while polar waveguides experience losses of 8.2 dB cm(-1) (532 nm) and 1.1 dB cm(-1) (633 nm) where 532 and 633 nm light represent the excitation and fluorescence wavelengths, respectively. We demonstrate the separation and detection of end-labelled DNA fragments using polar waveguides for excitation light delivery and apolar waveguides for fluorescence collection. We demonstrate that the dye-doped waveguides can provide performance comparable to a commercial dielectric filter; however, for the present choice of dye, their ultimate performance is limited by autofluorescence from the dye. Through the detection of a BK virus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product, we demonstrate that the dye-doped PDMS system is an order of magnitude more sensitive than a similar undoped system (SNR: 138 vs. 9) without the use of any external optical filters at the detector.


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