Dr. Filbert Bartoli Reveals Biosensor Proposal to ECE Community


Gabriella McNevin

Bartoli lecture
Dr. Bartoli

What do environmental monitoring, food testing, homeland security and drug discovery have in common? Each market segment relies on biosensors to analyze chemicals.

Dr. Filbert Bartoli, a leader in biosensor advancement, is working to produce an alternative commercial biosensor that is optimized for modern performance needs. His goal is to eliminate molecule labeling, decrease sensor interference with target molecules, and lessen sensor-manufacturing costs.

Bartoli is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chandler Weaver Chair and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Chair at Lehigh University, and Director of the Biophotonics and Optoelectronics Lab at Lehigh University. While visiting Boston University on April 9th, Professor Bartoli presented the work he collaborated on with Professor Xuanhong Cheng and student Bu Wang. The lecture was part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series.

During the talk, Professor Bartoli disclosed his sensor proposal, which is technically referred to as a plasmonic interferometric sensor. He demonstrated how the instrument operates on principles established by preexisting SPR biosensors, but differs by utilizing a simple optical setup. Essentially, the proposed device works by first controlling the plasmon line shape, which is made possible by structurally tuning the phase and amplitude of interfering surface plasmon polarities. The control allows the chemical’s molecules to be altered for testing. The surface area of the device is then measured for protein surface coverage in a process that minimally disturbs the targeted molecules.

“The successful transformation of SPR technique from prism-coupling to this far simple optical setup would lead to major advances in low-cost, portable biomedical devices as well as in other high- throughput sensing applications including proteomics, diagnostics, drug discovery, and fundamental cell biology research.”


Bartoli with student
Dr. Bartoli with an ECE student after the lecture.

Biosensors are increasingly used in medical and non-medical applications. Business Wire offered examples of the rising use of biosensors by pointing to the formation of the biodefense industry, the growing diabetic population, and an increase in home health care in 2013 Report on the International Biosensors Market- Trends and Forecast to 2018.

To view the PDF presentation, titled “Nanostructured Plasmonic Interferometers for ultrasensitive Label-Free Biosensing”: http://www.bu.edu/ece/files/2014/04/Bartoli-Slides.pdf

Fall 2014 Distinguished Lecture Series speakers will be announced this summer. Please contact gmcnevin@bu.edu with inquires or comments regarding the upcoming series.