Photonics for Biomedicine
John E. Hales, Guy Matmon, Paul A. Dalby, John M. Ward & Gabriel Aeppli Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 3594 (2019) and see also https://naturemicrobiologycommunity.nature.com/users/7272-ben-libberton/posts/53181-turning-viruses-into-lasers-could-revolutionise-hospital-diagnostics for a popular description of the technology.
In the Photon Science Division, headed by Prof. Dr. Gabriel Aeppli, a novel strategy for the detection of very small amounts of substances, such as toxins or viruses, has recently been developed (Hales et. al. 2019, Nat Commun 10:3594). The method takes advantage of lasing – optical amplification rather then chemical amplification as is practiced in many current biomedical tests - to amplify by many orders of magnitude the fluorescent signal in immunoassays. Proof-of-concept experiments were performed for measuring viral loads and a cancer antibody.
Threshold Detection of Viral Load
As viral load passes threshold, there is sharp onset of lasing with many orders of magnitude (note logarithmic scale) increase in optical intensity, i.e. fluorescence of ordinary biomedical assays is “turbo-charged”.