(559d) Photon Upconversion and High-Throughput Optical DNA Sequencing: Putting a Squeeze on Light

Nagpal, P. - Presenter, University of Colorado Boulder
Health and medicine are personal for each individual, but most of the current diagnosis and treatments follow “one size fits all” approach. Recently there has been increasing awareness to remedy this, and several initiatives have been started towards personalized medicine, precision medicine, and others, to develop customized and tailored solutions. In this talk, I will present recent advances made in my group in developing high-throughput and inexpensive optical imaging and diagnostic methods using “Quantum Biology”. First, I will describe efforts in my group on enhancing efficiency of photon upconversion, or combining two infrared photons to give a single visible photon, for exploiting the window of nominal biological transparency in near-infrared region, at low photon fluence using inexpensive metal substrates and nanostructures and upconverting nanoparticles. Second, I will address how these nanoscale light localization techniques can be further pushed to the limit for detecting and sequencing single-molecules of DNA using two complementary vibrational spectroscopic methods.

Development of facile bioimaging techniques, utilizing the window of nominal biological transparency I and II, can be accomplished with photon upconversion to provide a versatile optical detection system. However, low photon upconversion efficiency and the high fluence requirements have prevented further advances. I will describe how design of precisely tailored surface plasmon polariton waves (propagating and localized plasmons) have been used in my group, in combination with different quantized optical states in nanocrystals, to obtain high photon upconversion efficiency. Especially at low photon fluence, several competing photophysical and other nanoelectronic process were optimized like enhanced photon localization in three-dimensions, strong quenching, other cross-relaxation and auger-like quenching processes, and long-range near-field energy transfer between nanocrystals and dopants. Using the lessons learned in three-dimensional photon localization and other molecular-scale detection, I will show how my group is combining existing spectroscopic vibrational techniques, at a single-molecule level, with new algorithms and block-optical sequencing methods developed in my lab, for an expensive and high-throughput optical DNA sequencing technique. I will address the challenges addressed towards this method, and road-ahead for such novel and transformative single-molecule biodetection and diagnostic method towards practical clinical diagnosis and treatment.