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Optical Sensing

Optical techniques such as fluorescence imaging has been the mainstay of tools to probe bio-molecular interactions both in-vivo and in-vitro. Recently several label-free optical techniques, i.e. those which do not require labelling the molecule of interest, for instance, with a fluorophore, have been developed. Examples include techniques based on Raman effect (SERS) and diffractive interference sensing.

Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS)

An important property of the three dimensional plasmonic metamaterials developed by the group led by Dr. Ambarish Ghosh is related to the inherent porosity of the system, which can aid in various sensing applications as SERS substrates. We have obtained extremely high limit of detection, obtained by combining the high surface to volume ratio of three dimensional architectures with strong near field enhancement of electromagnetic field at junctions of plasmonic particles. We are currently various bio-sensing applications, for example to detect minute quantities of Thrombin.

Diffractive interference sensing

Research efforts in Prof. Manoj Varma‘s lab have been focused on the development of low complexity instrumentation for high resolution refractive index (RI) sensing.

Under this theme, we have developed a technique called Diffractive Interference Optical Analyzer (DiOpter) based on interference from diffractive structures. This technique uses a simple and compact optical setup and is still capable of attaining the same resolution (~ 10-6 RIU, Refractive Index Units, i.e. 6th decimal change in refractive index of a solution) as more advanced techniques such as Surface Plasmon Resonance. We are currently exploring the development and commercialization of applications of this technology in areas ranging from bio-medical to the chemical industries.

Associate Professor