By Mark Dwortzan
The IEEE Photonics Society has named Assistant Professor Hatice Altug (ECE) the 2011 winner of its Young Investigator Award, which recognizes individuals who make outstanding technical contributions to the field of photonics prior to their 35th birthday. Altug will receive the award, which consists of a certificate of recognition and an honorarium of $1,000, at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics meeting in Baltimore in May.
A Boston University faculty member since 2007, Altug was honored for her groundbreaking achievements in confining and manipulating light at the nanoscale to dramatically improve biosensing capabilities. Initiating several advances in the fields of nanophotonics, nanoplasmonics and integrated nanofluidics over the past six years, she has developed state-of-the-art technologies for real-time, label-free and high-throughput detection of very low quantities of biological molecules such as proteins and viruses.
“Professor Altug’s novel nanophotonic and nanofluidic inventions could be very important for clinical applications, biomedical research and national defense,” said Selim Unlu, associate dean for Research and Graduate Programs. “With her creativity and fearlessness in tackling challenging new directions, she promises to be a leader in nanophotonics and nanobiotechnology”
Among Altug’s achievements are an ultra-sensitive infrared vibrational spectroscopy method enabling measurements of molecular signatures of single protein layers; and an ultrafast, portable biosensor that can directly detect, live viruses in solution; and the world’s fastest and smallest nanoscale laser.
“I am very honored to receive this highly prestigious award from IEEE at this stage of my career,” said Altug, who also won an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award and National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2010. “It’s wonderful to be recognized by the scientific community. I hope to continue to work on high-impact research problems and contribute my field.”
A new, highly sensitive nanoparticle detection technique could be used to quickly diagnose viral infections. The technique, developed by US researchers, can discriminate between different viruses and is sensitive enough to detect the presence of a single virus particle.
Rapid, sensitive techniques for detecting viruses and other pathogens save lives and help limit the spread of disease. In the past, scientists have used labelling techniques and sensors that are difficult and costly to fabricate to try to identify pathogens. Selim Ünlü and colleagues at Boston University, Massachusetts have now developed a low-cost, label-free detection platform using silicon.
‘The resonators people fabricate are quite delicate and require very specific fabrication steps,’ says Ünlü. ‘In our case, it’s just plain old silicon with thermal oxidation.’ The team used a silicon wafer to create the smooth, flat surface needed to make high-precision measurements and demonstrated their technique by detecting tiny polystyrene beads and H1N1 (flu) viruses, which are around 100nm in diameter.
When a virus is bound to the surface, by an antibody specific to that virus, it produces an optical signature due to interference – the delay in light interacting with the particle. The team is also able to discriminate between particles of different sizes, down to 70nm, helping them to ignore noise from smaller particles such as proteins present in serum or saliva samples.
A key advantage of the team’s technology is the size of sensor they are using. Most single pathogen detection techniques use very small sensors, but as Ünlü explains, this means they will have a hard time finding a virus. ‘The advantage we have is that we are doing this on a surface that is very large – hundreds of microns or even a millimetre,’ he says. ‘So effectively, we have hundreds of thousands or a million sensors with single particle sensitivity. And that allows you to be very sensitive at low concentrations.’
Bob Carr, co-founder of nanoparticle imaging company NanoSight, based in Amesbury, UK, says the technique looks intriguing, although currently limited to immobilised particles. He’s particularly interested by the team’s suggestion that they could exploit the sensitivity of particles to different polarisations of light to look at shape. ‘The shape of such small particles is usually invisible,’ he says. ‘So if they can crack that then it’ll be a real head-turner.’
Ünlü says the approach could be used to detect any virus as long as there are antibodies available. His team is already starting work with hemorrhagic fevers including Ebola and Marburg.
published in Chemistry World, November 2010
February 7- 9, 2011 at Boston University, core partner of the ERC.
As we move toward a 24/7 society, humans are spending more of their time in constructed, illuminated, and connected environments. To assure our health and well being, reduce stress, enhance social interactions, and improve productivity, security, and safety, LED-based lighting systems are creating “smart spaces”. These spaces integrate illuminators, sensors, controllers, and communications into systems that enhance and adapt to the needs of humans and human activities.
Join our event to learn how the Smart Lighting ERC is working to innovate, prototype, and assess the impact of these smart lighting environments. Target audience include chief technology officers, senior management in technology and business development, and lead research scientists
By Mark Dwortzan
Smart lighting—the use of highly energy-efficient and controllable solid-state light sources both to illuminate a defined space and facilitate optical wireless communication among electronic devices within that space—recently took a major step forward. In April Professor Thomas Little (ECE) began fabricating a new LED-based prototype that the National Science Foundation Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center at Boston University developed over the past year. Fulfilling an initial order for 40 units, Little is now shipping these devices to the Center’s industrial and educational outreach partners, a development that could spark new advances leading to commercialization.
Friday, February 5, 2010, 8:30 am – 8:30 pm
BU Photonics Center, 8 St. Mary’s St., Boston, MA 02215
Come learn about our efforts to transform how society uses light through developing LED-based systems with adaptive functionality which will increase energy-efficiency, productivity and health of society.
- Welcome – Dr. Kenneth Lutchen, Dean of Engineering, BU
- Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center Overview – Dr. Robert Karlicek, ERC Center Director and Professor, ECSE Department, RPI
- Industry and the ERC – Dr. Silvia Mioc, ERC Industrial Collaboration Director, RPI
- Lensless Microscopes Enabled by Nanowire LEDs, Dr. Steve Hersee, ERC Associate Director and Professor, ECE Dept., UNM
- How Smart Lighting Fills a Gap for Wireless Communications, Dr. Thomas Little, ERC Associate Director and Professor, ECE Dept., BU
- Systems Integration and Smart Buildings, Dr. Art Sanderson, ERC System Integration Committee Co-Chair and Professor, ECSE Dept., RPI
- Photonics Crystals: Innovative Photon Management, Dr. Shawn Lin, ERC Device Thrust Leader and Constellation Professor, Physics Dept., RPI
- Point of Care Biosensors, Dr. Michael Ruane, ERC Biosensors Application Area Leader, and Professor, ECE Dept., BU
- A Second Kind of Light, Dr. Mark Rea, ERC Lighting and Health Application Area Leader, and Director, Lighting Research Center, RPI
- Educating the Next Generation in Smart Lighting, presented for Dr. Kenneth Connor, ERC Education & Outreach Director and Professor, ECSE Dept., RPI, by Dr. Michael Ruane, BU Campus Education & Outreach Coordinator, BU
- Keynote Address: The Smart Future of the Future of Light: Dr. Kevin Dowling, Vice President of Innovation, Philips Color Kinetics, and ERC Scientific Advisory Board member
- Panel Discussion: Industry View on Smart Lighting, Moderator: Dr. Thomas Bifano, Photonics Center Director, BU. Participants: ERC Industrial Advisory Board Members Dr. Majeed Foad, Applied Materials, Douglas Castor, InterDigital, Inc., Dr. Matthew Stough, Osram Sylvania, Dr. Leo Schowalter, Crystal-IS, John Taranto, Thorlabs.
- Student Poster Competition – Finalists to present their work in 90 seconds – ‘elevator-pitch’-style. Framework introduced by Dr. Silvia Mioc, ERC Industrial Collaboration Director, RPI.
- Research Work Presented in Poster Sessions (download abstracts)
- Breakout sessions – discussions with researchers and students
- BU lab tour
- Reception – and Student Posters Competition awards
Please join us for this exciting program, and opportunity to interact with industrial and academic thought leaders, as well as with the next generation of leaders, our highly trained students.
Target audience includes Chief Technology Officers, senior management in technology strategy and business development, and lead research scientists.
This conference is hosted by the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center (ERC), funded by National Science Foundation at a level of $4M/yr. The ERC is an interdisciplinary, multi-institution organization with the vision to transform the way society uses light by improving the energy-efficiency, productivity and health of society. The mission of the ERC is three- fold:
- To engage in research leading to controllable solid-state light systems that can adapt to specific requirements, environments, and condition
- To develop a culture of innovation and engage industry to commercialize the ERC’s research results
- To work with educators to develop the diverse world-class workforce that will be needed to grow the business of Smart Lighting.
The center is led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with Boston University and The University of New Mexico as core partners. Howard University, Morgan State University, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology are outreach and education partners.
For more information, please contact Linda Grosser, Public Relations and Industrial Outreach Coordinator for SLC at BU, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-358-1295, or Dr. Silvia Mioc, Director of Industrial Collaborations, at email@example.com, or 518-276-4010.