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Development Of Antibody-Based Fiber-Optic Sensors

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The speed and specificity characteristic of immunochemical complex formation has encouraged the development of numerous antibody-based analytical techniques. The scope and versatility of these established methods can be enhanced by combining the principles of conventional immunoassay with laser-based fiber-optic fluorimetry. This merger of spectroscopy and immunochemistry provides the framework for the construction of highly sensitive and selective fiber-optic devices (fluoroimmuno-sensors) capable of in-situ detection of drugs, toxins, and naturally occurring biochemicals. Fluoroimmuno-sensors (FIS) employ an immobilized reagent phase at the sampling terminus of a single quartz optical fiber. Laser excitation of antibody-bound analyte produces a fluorescence signal which is either directly proportional (as in the case of natural fluorophor and ‘antibody sandwich’ assays) or inversely proportional (as in the case of competitive-binding assays) to analyte concentration. Factors which influence analysis time, precision, linearity, and detection limits include the nature (solid or liquid) and amount of the reagent phase, the method of analyte delivery (passive diffusion, convection, etc.), and whether equilibrium or non-equilibrium assays are performed. Data will be presented for optical fibers whose sensing termini utilize: (1) covalently-bound solid antibody reagent phases, and (2) membrane-entrapped liquid antibody reagents. Assays for large-molecular weight proteins (antigens) and small-molecular weight, carcinogenic, polynuclear aromatics (haptens) will be considered. In this manner, the influence of a system's chemical characteristics and measurement requirements on sensor design, and the consequence of various sensor designs on analytical performance will be illustrated. © 1988 SPIE.

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