BioNano activities

Photonic antennas for ultra-sensitive biomolecular detection

Ultra-sensitive bio-sensing and bio-nanodevices

Project description

Nanophotonics offer new opportunities to further improve single molecule optical detection beyond the diffraction limit. We exploit novel concepts of photonic antennas to generate new bionanophotonic tools for ultrasensitive detection of individual biomolecules in the micro-molar range. The major goal is to engineer photonic antenna devices to concentrate the light into nanometer-scale illumination volumes and simultaneously enhance the molecular emission. Single molecule spectroscopy techniques such as fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) can greatly benefit from photonic nanoantennas to enter a new dimension of higher sensitivities at molecular concentrations reaching physiological conditions.

External collaborations

Dr. Jerome Wenger (Institute Fresnel, Marseille, France), 
Prof. Juergen Brugger (Microsystems Lab, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland), Dr. Mathieu Mivelle (ESPCI, Paris, France)

Selected publications in this project


  • ACS Photonics Cover

    ICFO\’s \”Strong Modification of Magnetic Dipole Emission through Diabolo Nanoantennas\” highlighted on the cover of August 2015 Issue. Magnetic dipole transitions in matter, eg. complex molecules, are known to be orders of magnitude weaker than their electric dipole counterparts. In order to amplify the absorption and/or emission of these transitions, it is thus interesting to … Continue reading →

  • Antenna-in-box platform to enhance single molecule detection

    Researchers from ICFO and CNRS publish results in Nature Nanotechnology. One of the ultimate goals of molecular biology is to watch how single molecules work at physiological conditions. This involves high local concentrations in the micromolar range, and calls for more than three orders of magnitude shrinking of the detection volume as compared to conventional … Continue reading →

  • New Advances in Photonic Antennas

    María García-Parajo and Niek van Hulst collaborate on developing a novel type of photonic antenna probes. ICFO groups Single molecule biophotonics and Molecular nanophotonics report in Nano Letters on a novel type of photonic antennas engineered at the end of a small scanning needle. The newly designed bowtie nanoaperture antenna probes resulted extremely bright, reduced … Continue reading →


FP7-ICT-2011-7 – NANO-VISTA, ERC – European Research Council, Advanced Grant ERC247330 – NanoAntenna

▲ Photonic antennas for ultra-sensitive biomolecular detection