Shining the Light of Truth … on Your Blood?

What if I told you … that shining a laser on a blood sample could tell you whether or not your symptoms were due to a virus or a bacteria? What if this handheld biosensor could detect virus antibodies too? The simple fact that there is no need to send the test off and wait for results, much less add further cost to the overall process is a real bonus for the patient and the system. It is even possible that you could skip the doctor’s office and just go to the pharmacy because the blood test is really that good.

See the source image
LIGO: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory setup

The image above is just one example of the technology in play here: laser interferometry. While the image of LIGO given above is for detecting gravitational waves (gimme a break, I’m a Physics Professor), shining two light beams on the blood sample is the same thing. Basically, laser interferometry creates what Physicists call an interference pattern. The nature of that pattern is indicative of what it interfered with. For example, proteins like procalcitonin, which increases in blood when a patient has a bacterial infection.

LEFT: the protein procalcitonin. RIGHT: an interference pattern

For more information on the super science nerdy research, click the link.

Isabel Barth et al. Common-path interferometric label-free protein sensing with resonant dielectric nanostructures, Light: Science & Applications (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41377-020-0336-6

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