In this context, Anna Celebańska and co-workers successfully demonstrated the proof-of-concept of a label-free cocaine detection platform based on highly sensitive Long Period Fiber Gratings (LPFGs) coupled with novel high affinity structure-switching aptamers. The principle of operation relies on the structural and conformational changes of the aptamer bioreceptor when coupled with cocaine molecules, leading to instantaneous refractive index modifications occurring in the close proximity of the fiber optic platform. The LPFG device thus converts local refractive index changes in detectable and quantifiable wavelength shifts associated to the attenuation bands of the fiber optic device, enabling cocaine detection in the micro-Molar concentration range.
This successful demonstration paves the way for the construction of a new generation of user-friendly, plug & play platforms for the fast detection of cocaine without requiring labeling, complex operations, expensive equipment, and skilled operators. Moreover, important margins of optimization exist to further improve the overall performance of the platform and to extend its use towards the detection of other clinically relevant biomolecules.
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