Nanophotonic biosensors harnessing van der Waals materials

Sang Hyun Oh, Hatice Altug, Xiaojia Jin, Tony Low, Steven J. Koester, Aleksandar P. Ivanov, Joshua B. Edel, Phaedon Avouris, Michael S. Strano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Low-dimensional van der Waals (vdW) materials can harness tightly confined polaritonic waves to deliver unique advantages for nanophotonic biosensing. The reduced dimensionality of vdW materials, as in the case of two-dimensional graphene, can greatly enhance plasmonic field confinement, boosting sensitivity and efficiency compared to conventional nanophotonic devices that rely on surface plasmon resonance in metallic films. Furthermore, the reduction of dielectric screening in vdW materials enables electrostatic tunability of different polariton modes, including plasmons, excitons, and phonons. One-dimensional vdW materials, particularly single-walled carbon nanotubes, possess unique form factors with confined excitons to enable single-molecule detection as well as in vivo biosensing. We discuss basic sensing principles based on vdW materials, followed by technological challenges such as surface chemistry, integration, and toxicity. Finally, we highlight progress in harnessing vdW materials to demonstrate new sensing functionalities that are difficult to perform with conventional metal/dielectric sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3824
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and Samsung Global Research Outreach (GRO) Program to S.-H.O., the European Research Council (ERC grant no. 682167 VIBRANT-BIO to H.A.), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF ECCS 1809723 to T.L. and S.-H.O.), King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (OSR-2015 Sensors 2707 to X.J. and M.S.S.). A.P.I. and J.B.E. acknowledge support from BBSRC grant BB/R022429/1, EPSRC grant EP/P011985/1, and the European Research Council (ERC) funding under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant no. 724300 and 875525). S.-H.O. further acknowledges support from the Sanford P. Bordeau Endowed Chair at the University of Minnesota. The authors thank Daehan Yoo, Nam-Joon Cho, and Javad Ghasemi Azadani for illustrations. The authors also thank In-Ho Lee, Christopher Ertsgaard, Peter Chris-tenson, and Joshua Jackman for helpful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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