Plasmonic optical biosensor for COVID‑19 detection

Rosei, Federico | $50,000

Quebec INRS 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

In December 2019 a new type of human coronavirus, named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2, or COVID19) emerged in Wuhan (China) and has rapidly become a global pandemic. To control and thwart this pandemic, significant efforts are being deployed to adapt existing diagnostic tests, including those that use the standard reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method, for detecting the COVID19 virus. Despite its high sensitivity and ability to detect small COVID19 amounts in samples, RT-PCR is time consuming and subject to diagnostic errors (false positives and false negatives). Given the extreme urgency of the situation, Prof. Rosei’s team at INRS and Maxwellian decided to join efforts to develop a technology for antimicrobial sensing and specifically COVID19 detection. To this end, they will capitalize on the complementary nature of their expertise and R&D strategies consisting in exploring new research opportunities for the development of high performance and low cost advanced optical sensors. In particular, we plan to adapt Maxwellian’s existing sensing technology for this purpose. Maxwellian brings its core expertise in optical fiber sensors and its technology based on photonic-plasmonic resonators to synergistically combine it with developed nanomaterials and processes that comes from this project.

This multidisciplinary project will provide training to a post-doctoral fellow in the areas of nanomaterial-based devices, optical sensors and data analysis which are greatly relevant to our partners. The success of this project will contribute to advance knowledge in biosensing and will enable our industrial partner to develop a commercially competitive technology and new products based on optical sensing, superior to current electronic sensor technologies.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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