Digital plasmonic nanobubble detection for rapid and ultrasensitive virus diagnostics

Yaning Liu, Haihang Ye, Hoang Dinh Huynh, Chen Xie, Peiyuan Kang, Jeffrey S. Kahn, Zhenpeng Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Rapid and sensitive diagnostics of infectious diseases is an urgent and unmet need as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we report a strategy, based on DIgitAl plasMONic nanobubble Detection (DIAMOND), to address this need. Plasmonic nanobubbles are transient vapor bubbles generated by laser heating of plasmonic nanoparticles (NPs) and allow single-NP detection. Using gold NPs as labels and an optofluidic setup, we demonstrate that DIAMOND achieves compartment-free digital counting and works on homogeneous immunoassays without separation and amplification steps. DIAMOND allows specific detection of respiratory syncytial virus spiked in nasal swab samples and achieves a detection limit of ~100 PFU/mL (equivalent to 1 RNA copy/µL), which is competitive with digital isothermal amplification for virus detection. Therefore, DIAMOND has the advantages including one-step and single-NP detection, direct sensing of intact viruses at room temperature, and no complex liquid handling, and is a platform technology for rapid and ultrasensitive diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1687
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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