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Biodetection using fluorescence energy transfer from Quantum dot excited whispering gallery modes to fluorescent acceptors

Abstract : Quantification of specific biomarkers is an important diagnostic tool. Standard immunoassays such as ELISA require extensive washing steps and signal amplification, in particular when the biomarker of interest is only present at very low concentrations. On the other hand, non-radiative Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) has been used to design one-step homogenous bioassays which do not require any washing steps, where the biomarker enables the formation of a sandwich complex involving donor-labeled and acceptor-labeled antibodies. FRET from the donor to the acceptor then provides an optical signature of the complex formation, hence of the biomarker of interest. However, FRET which is highly sensitive to the donor-acceptor distance, only occurs in a significant rate when the distance between the donor and acceptor is less than 10 nanometers; thus the large size of many biological complexes limits the efficiency of energy transfer, preventing sensitive detection. Here I propose a novel energy transfer modality that uses solution-phase optical microcavities to enhance energy transfer. Following that, I describe a bio-sensing scheme designed to detect a cancer biomarker DNA in solution.To this aim, I have designed microcavity structures in which fluorescent colloidal quantum dots are located inside dielectric polymer microspheres to enable strong coupling of their fluorescence emission with the cavity resonance modes or whispering gallery modes (WGMs) of the microspheres. A detailed study was carried out to comprehend the structural and optical properties of these optical microcavities. I also characterized the energy transfer between these modes and acceptor dye-loaded nanoparticles present in the evanescent field, within a few tens of nanometers above the microsphere surface. An analytical model was constructed to provide insights into the WGM mediated energy transfer (WGET) mechanisms. Moreover, a comparison between WGET and FRET revealed the superiority of WGET in the context of building sensors with improved sensitivity and longer range of detection. In the last part of the thesis, a strategy is discussed in detail to provide biological functionalities to these optical microcavities which would enable them to interact with target analytes such as DNA, RNA, and proteins with high specificity, and moreover to reduce non-specific interactions. This strategy then was adapted to attach DNA capture probes onto the WGM enabled microcavities. Using the DNA attached microspheres as optical donor in combination with probe-DNA functionalized dye nanoparticles as optical acceptors, a biosensing assay has been successfully demonstrated to detect a cancer biomarker DNA called survivin in the solution phase. This assay did not only show good sensitivity towards the target, but also it has proven to be highly specific. The detection scheme has been demonstrated in a sophisticated confocal microscope at the single microsphere level, then successfully translated to a much simpler spectrofluorometer that measures fluorescence from the whole sample solution; the signature of the sandwich complex formation was also effectively detected.In conclusion, I demonstrated that microcavity-assisted energy transfer has several advantages over regular FRET assays. A real bio-sensing assay based on the WGET principle has also been successfully designed to detect cancer biomarkers with high sensitivity and specificity. This study thus opens up many possibilities to design high-performing and more accurate assays to detect varieties of biological entities.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 1, 2022 - 10:34:24 AM
Last modification on : Friday, June 24, 2022 - 3:08:59 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-03550576, version 1


Subha Jana. Biodetection using fluorescence energy transfer from Quantum dot excited whispering gallery modes to fluorescent acceptors. Material chemistry. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021UPSLS081⟩. ⟨tel-03550576⟩



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