Bottom-Up Assembled Photonic Crystals for Structure-Enabled Label-Free Sensing

Juan Wang*, Pepijn W.H. Pinkse, Loes I. Segerink, Jan C.T. Eijkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


Photonic crystals (PhCs) display photonic stop bands (PSBs) and at the edges of these PSBs transport light with reduced velocity, enabling the PhCs to confine and manipulate incident light with enhanced light-matter interaction. Intense research has been devoted to leveraging the optical properties of PhCs for the development of optical sensors for bioassays, diagnosis, and environmental monitoring. These applications have furthermore benefited from the inherently large surface area of PhCs, giving rise to high analyte adsorption and the wide range of options for structural variations of the PhCs leading to enhanced light-matter interaction. Here, we focus on bottom-up assembled PhCs and review the significant advances that have been made in their use as label-free sensors. We describe their potential for point-of-care devices and in the review include their structural design, constituent materials, fabrication strategy, and sensing working principles. We thereby classify them according to five sensing principles: sensing of refractive index variations, sensing by lattice spacing variations, enhanced fluorescence spectroscopy, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, and configuration transitions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9299-9327
Number of pages29
JournalACS nano
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021


  • limit of detection
  • optical label-free sensor
  • photonic crystals
  • photonic stop band
  • self-assembly
  • sensitivity
  • signal readout
  • slow light
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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