Highly sensitive color-indicating and quantitative biosensor based on cholesteric liquid crystal

Yu Cheng Hsiao, Yu Chien Sung, Mon Juan Lee, Wei Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Liquid crystal (LC)-based biosensors employ highly sensitive interfaces between the alignment layers and LCs to detect biomolecules and their interactions. Present techniques based on optical texture observation of the homeotropic-to-planar response of nematic LCs are limited by their quantitative reproducibility of results, indicating that both the accuracy and reliability of LC-based detection require further improvements. Here we show that cholesteric LC (CLC) can be used as a novel sensing element in the design of an alternative LC-based biosensing device. The chirality of the vertically anchored (VA) CLC was exploited in the detection of bovine serum albumin (BSA), a protein standard commonly used in protein quantitation. The color appearance and the corresponding transmission spectrum of the cholesteric phase changed with the concentration of BSA, by which a detection limit of 1 fg/ml was observed. The optical response of the VA CLC interface offers a simple and inexpensive platform for highly sensitive and naked-eye color-indicating detection of biomolecules, and, thus, may facilitate the development of point-of-care devices for the detection of disease-related biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number250493
Pages (from-to)5033-5038
Number of pages6
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 23 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Chiral media
  • Liquid crystals
  • Liquid-crystal devices
  • Medical optics and biotechnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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