With the flu epidemic raging across the world, developing an efficient, effective and highly sensitive detection method is essential. Recently, Dr Hao Jianhua at the Department of Applied Physics and Dr Yang Mo at the Interdisciplinary Division of Biomedical Engineering jointly developed a novel nano-biosensor for rapid detection of flu and other viruses.

Using upconversion luminescence resonance energy transfer (LRET) technology, researchers matched the DNA base pairs of upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) conjugated with a probe oligo with those of the gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) flu virus oligo, leading to oligo hybridization. It worked like two matching pieces of magnet drawing together due to attraction force. Under the illumination of near-infrared laser, UCNPs then emit eye-visible green light while the AuNPs absorb the green light. The weaker the green light, the higher the concentration of flu virus.

Using this optical technology for testing virus requires only two to three hours, making it more than 10 times quicker than conventional method in detecting virus. Also, the upconversion LRET method can be widely used for detecting different types of viruses simply by modifying the UCNPs captured probes.

Related academic papers were published in ACS Nano and Small, two leading journals in nano materials research. Details>>