Magnetically aggregated biosensors for sensitive detection of biomarkers at low concentrations

Shmuel Burg, Meir Cohen, Michael Margulis, Shira Roth, Amos Danielli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Detection of biomarkers at low concentrations is essential for early diagnosis of numerous diseases. In many sensitive assays, the target molecules are tagged using fluorescently labeled probes and captured using magnetic beads. Magnetic beads facilitate washing and separation steps, are well suited for automation, and improve the assay sensitivity. Current devices rely on quantifying the target molecules by detecting the fluorescence signal from individual beads. Thus, to detect low concentrations of target molecules, these devices require sophisticated optical detectors, making them bulky and expensive. Here, we propose a compact fluorescence-based system that simply uses a small permanent magnet with a conic tip to aggregate the magnetic beads, forming a cluster of fluorescently labeled probes whose fluorescence signal is much greater than that of a single bead. Using the magnetically aggregated biosensors to detect human Interleukin-8, we demonstrated a limit of detection of 0.1 ng/l and a 4-log dynamic range performance, which is on par with the most sensitive devices but is achieved without their bulk and cost.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103702
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Author(s).


The authors thank Dr. Shira Avivi-Mintz for technical assistance. James Ballard provided an editorial review of this manuscript. A.D. has financial interest in MagBiosense, Inc., which, however, did not financially support this work. This work was financially supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 1142/15) and the Israel Innovation Authority (Kamin, Grant No. 59042).

FundersFunder number
Israel Innovation Authority59042
Israel Science Foundation1142/15


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