Colloquium: Judith Su

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 11:00am
    Franken Conference Room (Meinel 821)

    Single Molecule Detection with Microtoroid Resonators


    Label-free single molecule detection has been a long-standing goal of bioengineers and physicists. The main obstacle in the detection of single molecules, however, is to sufficiently decrease the noise level of the measurements such that a single molecule can be distinguished from background fluctuations. We have used laser frequency locking in combination with balanced detection and data processing techniques to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of microtoroid optical resonators and report the detection of a wide range of nanoscale objects including nanoparticles with radii from 100 to 2.5 nm, exosomes, ribosomes, and single protein molecules (mouse immunoglobulin G and human interleukin-2). We further extend the exosome results toward the creation of a minimally-invasive tumor biopsy assay. Our results agree with established model predictions for the frequency shift of the resonator upon particle binding across several orders of magnitude of particle radius (100 nm to 2 nm). We anticipate that our results will enable many applications, including more sensitive medical diagnostics and fundamental studies of single receptor-ligand and protein-protein interactions in real time. Future research thrusts will also be discussed.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Judith Su is currently an Assistant Research Professor in the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. She has a joint appointment in Chemistry & Biochemistry and is an Associate Member of the University of Arizona Cancer Center. Judith received her B.S. and M.S. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering and her Ph.D. from Caltech in Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics. Her background is in imaging, microfabrication, and optical instrument building for biological and medical applications. In general, her research interests are to develop new imaging, sensing, and rheological techniques to reveal basic biological functions at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels. Recently her work has centered on label-free single molecule detection using microtoroid optical resonators with a focus on basic research, and translational medicine through the development of miniature field portable devices.