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This work outlines, for the first time, the fabrication of a whole hybrid sol-gel optofluidic platform by integrating a microfluidic biosensor platform with optical waveguides employing a standard photolithography process. To demonstrate the suitability of this new hybrid sol-gel optofluidic platform, optical and bio-sensing proof-of-concepts are proposed. A photoreactive hybrid sol-gel material composed of a photopolymerisable organically modified silicon alkoxide and a transition metal complex was prepared and used as the fabrication material for the entire optofluidic platform, including the optical waveguides, the sensing areas, and the microfluidic device. The most suitable sol-gel materials chosen for the fabrication of the cladding and core of the waveguides showed a RIC of 3.5 × 10-3 and gave thicknesses between 5.5 and 7 μm. The material was optimised to simultaneously meet the photoreactive properties required for the photolithography fabrication process and the optical properties needed for the effective optical operability of the microstructured waveguides at 532 and 633 nm with an integrated microfluidic device. The optical proof-of-concept was performed using a fluorescent dye (Atto 633) and recording its optical responses while irradiated with a suitable optical excitation. The biosensing capability of the platform was assessed using a polyclonal primary IgG mouse antibody and a fluorescent labelled secondary IgG anti-mouse antibody. A limit of detection (LOD) of 50 ug/mL was achieved. A correlation between the concentration of the dye and the emission fluorescence was evidenced, thus clearly demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed hybrid sol-gel optofluidic platform concept. The successful integration and operability of optical and microfluidic components in the same optofluidic platform is a novel concept, particularly where the sol-gel fabrication material is concerned.



This research received no external funding

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.