Smarter Smart Phones

A new biosensor cradle and app take us one step closer to portable and more universal analytical access

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a cradle accessory for the iPhone that aligns its integral camera with a series of optical components to analyze a primed slide. The result? A portable biosensing spectrophotometer that rivals a $50,000 laboratory instrument for accuracy, according to the team. In their paper in Lab on a Chip (1), an immune system protein was the main focus, but the sample slide can be primed for any biological molecule or cell type. Team leader Brian Cunningham tells The Analytical Scientist: “So far, we have demonstrated detection based on label-free photonic crystal biosensors and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We are working towards using the same detection hardware to perform fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence polarization (FP) assays. We will be sharing results from those approaches soon.”