• enhanced fluorescence;
  • homogeneous assay;
  • photonic crystal;
  • submicron channel;
  • E-jet printing


We demonstrate the enhancement of a liquid-based homogenous fluorescence assay using the resonant electric fields from a photonic crystal (PC) surface. Because evanescent fields are confined to the liquid volume nearest to the photonic crystal, we developed a simple approach for integrating a PC fabricated on a silicon substrate within a fluid channel with submicron height, using electrohydrodynamic jet (e-jet) printing of a light-curable epoxy adhesive to define the fluid channel pattern. The PC is excited by a custom-designed compact instrument that illuminates the PC with collimated light that precisely matches the resonant coupling condition when the PC is covered with aqueous media. Using a molecular beacon nucleic acid fluorescence resonant energy transfer (FRET) probe for a specific miRNA sequence, we demonstrate an 8× enhancement of the fluorescence emission signal, compared to performing the same assay without exciting resonance in the PC detecting a miRNA sequence at a concentration of 62 nM from a liquid volume of only ∼20 nL. The approach may be utilized for any liquid-based fluorescence assay for applications in point-of-care diagnostics, environmental monitoring, or pathogen detection. (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)