Investigator: Yi Zheng, University of Rhode Island
Mentor: Ruitang Deng, University of Rhode Island
Scientific Theme: Cancer
Abstract: Lung cancer has been the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and women and as of 2015 it was responsible for 1.8 million deaths globally. Most of the lung cancers are diagnosed at relative late stages. Early detection of lung cancer is crucial for lung cancer therapy and it increases the chance for a full recovery. The objective of this project is to utilize near-field thermal enhancement and micro/nanoscale metamaterials to theoretically and numerically study the enhanced wavelength selectivity corresponding to lung cancer biomarkers of interest. A metamaterials-based biosensor with a tunable narrowband wavelength integrated with the sample collection hollow microneedles will be designed and tested experimentally. This proposal focuses on the fundamental study of near-field mediated wavelength selectivity of particular biomaterials, and the long-term goal is to perform in vitro detection of the low concentration of lung cancer biomarkers in the collected human serum/interstitial samples. The design and fabrication of low-cost, highly sensitive and effective nanoscale biosensors are necessary for industrial and academic utilization. It will be a unique experimental capability nationally and internationally, which will open new and large-scale National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) funding opportunities to the PI. Specific aims include: (1) develop highly sensitive and selective nanoscale metamaterials with tunable narrowband\ wavelength selectivity for the early lung cancer biomarkers, such as antigens CEA, CYFRA 21-1 and CA 125, of various concentrations, and (2) evaluate and demonstrate the metamaterials-based near-field enhanced biosensor by integrating with a sample collection microneedle array. It requires high selectivity in spectral emission at particular wavelengths, as well as flexibility and simplification of manipulating emission by adjusting geometries of configurations. Near-field mediated wavelength selectivity of particular wavelengths that correspond to cancer biomarkers can enhance the sensitivity and early detect small amount of biomarkers existed in samples that are collected by hollow pyramidshaped microneedles. The rigorous coupled-wave analysis, a semi-analytical approach in computational electromagnetics, is used to solve the scattering properties from periodic surface structures. Biomarker-capturing antibody coating is expected to significantly increase the detection sensitivity of this technology and avoid the influence by other irrelevant molecules. Micro/nano fabrication of metamaterials doped with nanoparticles of various radii and volume fractions will be performed in cleanroom at URI and Brown University. The proposed research will be primarily done in the PI’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and also require the preparation and testing of biological samples through Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences in College of Pharmacy at the URI.
Human Health Relevance: This proposal focuses on photonic metamaterials-based thermal infrared nano sensing and its application to early detection of the low