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J Lab Autom. 2014 Feb;19(1):35-41. doi: 10.1177/2211068213498241. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Smartphone-based optofluidic lab-on-a-chip for detecting pathogens from blood.

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1Biomedical Engineering Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.


A novel smartphone-based detection device was created to detect infectious pathogens directly from diluted (10%) human whole blood. The model pathogen was histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP-2), an antigen specific to Plasmodium falciparum (malaria). Anti-HRP-2-conjugated submicrobeads were mixed with HRP-2-infused 10% blood in a lab-on-a-chip device. The white LED flash and the digital camera of the smartphone were used as light source and detector, which delivered light to and from the bead and blood mixture via optofluidic channels in the lab-on-a-chip. The optofluidic channels were angled at 45 degrees to capture the Mie scatter from the sample. Considering the absorption and scattering characteristics of blood (red/infrared preferred) and the Mie scatter simulations for microbead immunoagglutination (UV preferred), blue detection showed the best results. The detection limit was 1 pg/mL in 10% blood. The linear range was from 1 pg/mL to 10 ng/mL. A handheld device, easily attachable to a single smartphone, was finally designed and fabricated using optical mirrors and lenses and successfully detected the HRP-2 from 10% blood. The total assay time was approximately 10 min. The proposed device can potentially be used for detecting a wide range of blood infection with high sensitivity.


HRP-2; Mie scatter; Plasmodium falciparum; cell phone–based detection; histidine-rich protein 2; immunoagglutination; microfluidic

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