Our sensors are based on optical microresonators, which can amplify signals in any of the wide variety of optical methods commonly used in chemical sensing. While the use of optical microresonators in sensing is not a new idea, the Oxford HighQ team has pioneered methods for resonator fabrication and use that will make microresonator-enhanced sensors a commercial reality for the first time. Optical Microcavity Analysis (OMCA) promises:
- Orders of magnitude increase in the sensitivity of optical sensing methods such as colorimetric absorption assays.
- Measurement using only minute liquid sample volumes, making precious samples last longer and simplifying sample collection processes.
- Sensor elements that are micrometres in size and highly parallelizable, compatible with microfluidic systems and chip-scale devices.
The technology represents a universal platform for chip-scale chemical and nanoparticle sensing. Sensors can be configured to detect a wide range of chemical and particle species of interest, from heavy metal pollutants to micro meter sized particles such as bacteria.
Open-access microcavities for chemical sensing, Nanotechnology 27, 74003 (2016).
Open-access optical microcavities for lab-on-a-chip refractive index sensing, Lab on a Chip 14, 4244 (2014).
Cavity-enhanced optical methods for online microfluidic analysis, Chem. Phys. Lett. 554, 1 (2012).
OMCA number distribution of polarizability (nm3) of PMMA (196nm) and polystyrene nanoparticles (187nm) in water.
Find out more about our technology
Optical microcavity technology
Optical microcavities are micrometre-sized devices which confine light to a volume of space comparable with the optical wavelength.
When a nanoparticle enters a microcavity it interacts with the light present by introducing a local change to the refractive index relative to the surrounding fluid.
Our sensors are based on optical microresonators, which can amplify signals in any of the wide variety of optical methods commonly used in chemical sensing.